It wasn’t an easy weekend’s racing for national All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) champion Quentin Palmer but the quad bike hero did enough to get the job done at the New Zealand TT Championships near Kuratau.
The Suzuki rider won all three open class ATV races on Saturday but nearly lost his championship lead on day two when a failing steering dampener saw him struggle to hold on to his bucking 450cc quad bike.
He fought hard to finish second and third on Sunday as Amberley’s Ian Ffitch took advantage and won both those races.
A couple of lacklustre results on Saturday, however, eventually proved costly for Ffitch (pictured above) and he had to settle for third overall in the championship, behind Palmer and Rotorua’s Jason Jepson (Yamaha).
“I enjoyed my battle with Ffitchy today,” Palmer said as the dirt settled on Sunday afternoon. “I cocked up the starts and just couldn’t peg him back.”
The 29-year-old Palmer also won the ATV open class TT title in 2008 and 2009.
Meanwhile, the bikes section was dominated by Hawera’s Brad Groombridge, who won both the open class and the 250cc class as well.
The 19-year-old Groombridge (Suzuki) was challenged early on in the open class races by 45-year-old veteran Mitch Rowe (Yamaha), of New Plymouth, but he eventually romped away with an unbeaten string of five wins.
It was closer action in the 250cc class with an impressive Cam Dillon (Honda), of Taupo, coming very close to snatching the 250cc crown from Groombridge.
Auckland’s James Ainsworth (KTM) won the senior under-200cc class.
Rotorua’s Scott Canham (Kawasaki) put on an outstanding display to notch up a maximum five wins from five starts in the junior 14-16 years’ 125cc two-stroke and 250cc four-stroke class.
Otago’s Courtney Duncan (Yamaha, 13-16 years 85cc) and Taupo’s Cohen Chase (Yamaha, 8-12 years 85cc) won their respective junior classes.
It may have been some consolation for Rowe that he easily won the eldest of the two veterans’ classes, for riders aged over 40, while Auckland’s Toby Summers (Yamaha), won the other veterans’ class, for riders aged 35-40.
Oparau’s Ronnie De Wys won the ATV 40-plus 0-700cc class, while Owhango’s Brett Wilson won the ATV juniors title
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
Full story and more photos in your next issue of KIWI RIDER magazine.