SIX HOURS, NO SWEAT

Taupo’s Brad Groombridge (Kea Trailers Suzuki RM-Z450), simply outstanding at Matata on Saturday. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

Two-time former and reigning national cross-country champion Brad Groombridge, who is also currently leading the 2018 national cross-country series, was again in scintillating form at the weekend as he won the annual Scott Six-Hour race at Matata.

What made it more remarkable was that the Suzuki ace rode Saturday’s event solo, while most of the competitors chose to form up as two-rider teams.

The 27-year-old Groombridge (Suzuki RM-Z450) finished the gruelling marathon nearly a minute ahead of Rotorua two-rider team Callum Dudson and Ethan Harris (Honda CRF250), with another two-man pairing, Hamilton duo Phillip Goodwright and Phil Singleton (Husqvarna FX350), took the third podium spot.

The second best of the solo riders was Napier’s Mackenzie Wiig (KTM 300 EXC), who finished the race a creditable 13th overall.

Bay of Plenty’s former motocross world champion Ben Townley (KTM 250SX), who teamed with Taupo rider Nicolette Epps, had the lead at the start, but Groombridge was on the charge after exiting turn one in about fifth position and was soon closing in.

“It was the first time I’d raced the 2018-model RM-Z450 at a cross-country event, but I was loving it,” said Groombridge, who took over the lead on lap two of what would eventually become 13 trips around the challenging course.

“I opened up a bit of a gap and I knew a couple of teams were about a minute behind me, but they never got closer to me than that.

“In the end I was able to cruise to the finish.”

Groombridge now switched his focus back to racing the same bike at the New Zealand Motocross Championships, the third round of four in Hawke’s Bay this Sunday.

He is currently running seventh overall in the MX1 standings at the motocross nationals and, riding a RM-Z250 in the MX2 class, he is currently in the runner-up spot, behind defending national MX2 champion Hamish Harwood, from West Auckland, and head of Australian former GP racer Jay Wilson.

The versatile combination of Groombridge and his RM-Z450 will then change tack again a week later to tackle round two of the cross-country nationals at Ormondville (on March 18), a busy schedule that would surely sap the energy of anyone but this superman rider.

© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

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