The unique Red Bull Foxhunt downhill race hits New Zealand

Mountain bikers racing the Red Bull Foxhunt 2023
(Image credit: Red Bull)

Red Bull Foxhunt took place at Cardrona, Wanaka with 100 of the best downhill mountain bike riders taking part in the mass-start enduro mountain bike race.

Red Bull athletes and world-leading downhill mountain bikers, Brook 'The Bulldog' Macdonald, Jess Blewitt, and Remy Morton challenged the 100 riders from across New Zealand as they become 'the foxes' chasing down their ‘prey’ to the finish line.

For the uninitiated, Red Bull Foxhunt is a twist on the often controversial pastime of fox-hunting - with the roles reversed. The Foxes, Macdonald, Blewitt, and Morton chase down the hunt, in a no-holes barred downhill mountain bike race. With a mass start for the hunt before the foxes start soon after. 

The 2023 foxes at Red Bull Foxhunt mountain bike race in New Zealand

MacDonald, Blewitt, and Morton prepare for the chase (Image credit: Red Bull)

The hunt would be up against it to cross the line before being caught and passed by the foxes with this year's event seeing a stellar lineup of riders chasing them down.

New Zealander Brook MacDonald, known for his never-say-die attitude and hard-charging style is a former junior downhill mountain bike world champion and has continued to make his mark on the senior circuit with podiums on the UCI World Cup circuit in both Canada and on the famed Fort William track in Scotland.

Brook would be joined by fellow Red Bull athlete and the first female fox Jess Blewitt, another New Zealander with a big reputation, Jess has been rising through the mountain biking ranks with some attention-grabbing performances and was the first female to be invited to Red Bull Hardline last year.

The third Fox would be 24-year-old Australian Remy Morton who is well known as one of the best all-around bike riders out there, from BMX dirt jumps or massive freeride MTB lines, Remy loves nothing better than going big on a bike.

Jess Blewitt at Red Bull Foxhunt

Red Bull athlete Jess Blewitt (Image credit: Red Bull)

The 9.5km race kicked off with the riders lined up at the top of Cardrona for the mass start while the foxes were set several meters back to chase the riders and started shortly after. In an impressive 13 minutes and 8 seconds, Sean McCarroll was first to the finish line taking first place, followed by Gareth Burgees and Sam Blenkinsop who all managed to impressively beat the foxes.

Brook Macdonald was buzzing after the race saying ‘’Red Bull Foxhunt was epic. It was awesome to go head-to-head against some of New Zealand’s best and the atmosphere was next-level. Next year I’ll be gunning to take first place.’’

The male winners on the podium at Red Bull Foxhunt 2023

Sean McCarroll was first to cross the line in the mens Fox Hunt (Image credit: Red Bull)

In the female race there was a strong line-up of riders, Louise Ferguson led the pack coming in at 14 minutes and 30 seconds followed by Lynette Deacon and Emma Olofsson. Red Bull Foxhunt fox and 20-year-old New Zealand Downhill Champion Jess Blewitt was the second woman to cross the finish line and was thrilled to get amongst the pack.

‘’That was pretty wild. There are some talented riders in there and that course was intense - Louise did an impressive job with that finish time. The energy throughout the whole day and race was insane!’’ Jess said.

The female podium at Red Bull Foxhunt 2023

(Image credit: Red Bull)

The 100 riders that took part in Red Bull Foxhunt showcased the talent and energy of the mountain bike scene in New Zealand. They celebrated a day of carnage, excitement, and fun with an open-door afterparty that took place at Yonder, Queenstown with performances by PDiggs and Sambora.

The 100 riders at Red Bull Foxhunt mountain bike race 2023 edition

A day of carnage, excitement and fun was celebrated with an afterparty (Image credit: Red Bull)

Check out the carnage from the 2023 Red Bull Foxhunt with a riders epic POV footage below.

Paul Brett
Staff writer

Paul Brett is a staff writer for BikePerfect.com. He has been an avid cyclist for as long as he can remember, initially catching the mountain biking bug in the 1990s, and raced mountain bikes for over a decade before injury cut short a glittering career. He’s since developed an obsession for gravel riding and recently has dabbled in the dark art of cyclocross. A fan of the idea of bikepacking he has occasionally got involved and has ridden routes like the North Coast 500, Scotland and the Via Francigena (Pilgrim Route), Italy.

Current rides: Marin Alpine Trail 2, Ribble 725, Cube Stereo 160

Height: 175cm