Paull Robson – King Of The Mountain
Did you know that the 2019 New Zealand downhill mountain bike champion is from Matakana? Paull Robson was named the winner of the Masters Division after a dramatic series of races around the country, even though he couldn’t compete in the final event due to a nasty crash.
The championship series started at Auckland Downhill Club in Warkworth’s Dome Valley, where Paull placed first of about 90 competitors on his home turf.
The second race took place in Christchurch and got quite intense after the weather took an unexpected turn – from hot and dusty during practise runs, to rain and sleet on race-day.
“By the time we had the race-run, the track was what we call a slip-and-slide,” says Paull.
As Paull came over a metre-high rock drop, his front wheel got stuck in a hole concealed by mud. He came off the bike and had an unfortunate landing on a rock, but still managed to get back on the bike and win the race.
“We wear body-armour, but I hit the rock on my side – just between the chest and back plates. I was pretty winded when I came back on my bike, but I knew I could finish. It turned out I had broken two ribs,” he says.
After a life-long career in adventure sports – competing at national levels in snowboarding, surfing, BMX and road cycling – Paull has an extensive list of broken bones.
The latest injury meant Paull couldn't participate in the final race in Cardrona, but his overall scores were high enough to grant him the win anyway.
“Most people can ride a bike fast, especially down the hill, but to stay in control and have the bike working for you is another story.”
“The competitive bikes are very expensive, but I've been lucky that my suppliers Worrall, Marleen Wholesalers and Shimano have come to the party and supported me through this journey,” he says.
If you’re local and you’re into bicycles, you probably already know Paull from his shop in Matakana Country Park.
“Bikes are my passion. My dad and older brother rode national events in road cycling, so I grew up around bikes and have been in and out of workshops since I was 14. Nine years ago, I opened up a shop to see if I could make a living out of it,” says Paull.
There are two parts to the business – the bike hire side and the mechanic side, offering repairs, custom builds and parts supply.
“I really like the variety of people I get to meet, from all walks of life. The mix of locals and international tourists,” says Paull. “I like seeing people on bikes and seeing them experience the same joy I do. And I get great satisfaction from bringing in tourist dollars in a sustainable way, with minimal impact on the environment.”
Paull is also excited about Matakana Cycle Trail Trust’s work on establishing bicycle tracks between Matakana, Snells Beach, Warkworth and Puhoi.
“We already ride between Puhoi, Kaipara Harbour and Matakana, but through the forest. We've hand-built trails as well as using forestry roads. Look up ‘Dome Valley Mountain Bikers’ on Facebook to join us!” he says.
Paull would love to see more people on bicycles and giving downhill mountain biking a go.
“Few people are aware that we have got five downhill mountain bike courses in the Dome Valley, ranging from intermediate to expert. Auckland Downhill Club is probably one of the smallest clubs in the country, and we’re always welcoming to new members,” says Paull.
“Part of the reason I’m is still racing at 52 years old is to support a sport that I really love.”
1151 Leigh Road, Matakana