Taumarunui’s Adam Blackburn is going from strength to strength in his cross-country motorcycle racing career and the 28-year-old puts his recent success down to one thing … his new bike, a GasGas XC200.
“I’ve only had the bike about four months now, but it’s a great bike and I’m really enjoying it. This was my first season back riding after taking about six years off,” said Blackburn, who capped off his comeback with a podium finish in a major national competition at the weekend.
Blackburn teamed with fellow Taumarunui racer Luke Brown to complete the three-round 2014 Two-Man Cross-country Series with a solid runner-up placing at Maramarua on Saturday, that result coming after a remarkable charge through the pack from a seemingly impossible position.
“It was my team-mate’s turn to be first rider on the bike on Saturday but, unfortunately, he took a wrong turn on the track somewhere and got a little lost,” Blackburn explained.
“That put us back a long way behind the leaders (in the three-hour race) because it ended up taking us 25 minutes to do the first lap instead of 15 minutes.
“We were about a lap behind when I took over on the bike. It was quite muddy too, so that didn’t help. But that’s racing I suppose.”
So Blackburn put his head down and charged through the field, passing dozens of riders as he clocked the fastest lap times of the weekend and put himself back into contention for final round and the series glory.
In the end, the Blackburn/Brown pairing had to settle for runner-up spot, finishing the three-hour race just 13 minutes behind eventual series winners Muz Foster and Jacob Brown (sharing a KTM XC250), from Te Kauwhata.
Pukekohe father and son pairing of Ian and Sean Freer (Honda CRF450) finished third overall at the weekend and also took the No.3 spot overall for the series.
“I was a little bit gutted (about finishing runner-up on Saturday), but still pleased with how we rode. The series has been an awesome way to get back into the sport.”
With huge support from Craig Brown from GasGas and Russell Josiah of Bike Torque Euro in Taumarunui, Blackburn had also tasted success earlier this season when, riding solo, he managed to win his under-200cc two-stroke class at the four-round New Zealand Cross-country Championships.
The next big event for Blackburn and his GasGas XC200 is the three-round Dirt Guide Cross-country Series, set to kick off near Tokoroa this weekend.
Blackburn photo by Stephanie Rangi
© Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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