Several national off-road motorcycle titles will be decided north of Christchurch this Saturday afternoon.
That’s when the Suzuki National Cross-country Championships come to a head as the four-round series winds up on hilly Canterbury farmland, in the Greta Valley, near Cheviot.
“It has been a fantastic series,” said Motorcycling New Zealand cross-country commissioner Murray Searle, of Palmerston North.
“The racing has been very close at the top. It comes down to the wire at this final round and that’s exciting,” said Searle.
With points from only three of the four rounds to count toward the senior championship, nothing is cut and dried as the nation’s elite arrive to race this weekend.
Even after three rounds of cut-and-thrust action, four or five riders are still capable of winning the series outright.
Leading the charge is defending champion Adam Reeves (Yamaha), of Pahiatua, but he has a pack of riders nipping as his rear wheel, including Napier’s John O’Dea (Suzuki), Auckland’s Sam Greenslade (Suzuki), Mokau’s Adrian Smith (Yamaha) and Huntly’s Michael Vining (Suzuki).
Leading the way in the women’s category is Raethi’s Letitia Alabaster (Kawasaki), closely followed by Otorohanga’s Jan-Maree Pool (KTM) and Albany’s Julie Greenslade (Gas Gas).
Palmerston North’s Jordan Wilson (KTM) won the opening round for the juniors, near Martinborough a fortnight ago. The junior class runner-up that day was Raglan’s Jason Dickey (Kawasaki) (pictured above), with Cambridge’s Chris Foster (Yamaha) finishing third.
Whangamata’s Morgan Edwards (KTM) was the top junior woman at Martinborough, finishing ahead of Tauranga’s Drisana Sheely (Kawasaki) and Auckland’s Phoebe Hill (KTM).
“I’ve been especially thrilled with the turn-out of junior riders,” said Searle.
“This is where the future stems from. We have already seen former junior riders such as Michael Vining (Huntly), bothers John and Lance O’Dea (Napier) and Charles Alabaster (Raetihi) step up and impress in the senior ranks this season.”
Both the senior and junior series have been sponsored this season by Suzuki, DRD magazine, Hydraulink fluid connectors.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com