A little bit of luck and a whole lot of riding talent gave Blake Gillard and Brandon Tipene victory at the inaugural Harrisville Cross Country race at the weekend.
The Pukekohe Club laid out an approximately seven-kilometre course at the MR Motorcycles Harrisville Raceway for Sunday’s race, using some of the established motocross track and the paddocks around the 42-acre facility.
With the 85 riders and teams under starter’s orders, it looked like a battle was going to erupt between the motocross teams with a lot of Harrisville regulars and a few of the hardened national cross country riders who were there to ride it solo, as ironmen.
With the experts and ironmen starting on the front line, it was veteran rider John Sharland who took the holeshot, quickly followed by Matt Vining (Suzuki RM250), top Auckland cross-country rider Sam Greenslade (Suzuki) led through the timing on the first lap and set off with the rest following.
Gillard (KTM) managed to come back from a bad start to lead by lap five but gave up the lead when he came in and changed to partner Brandon Tipene on lap six. Greenslade inherited the lead again but pitted a lap later to try and sort some arm pump problems.
This gave enduro and cross-country rider Jason Davis (Husqvarna) the lead. He made it to lap 11 when gearbox issues caused an early retirement, handing the lead back to Gillard and Tipene.
At one stage, Kawasaki KX125 riders Aaron and Hamish Stone got the gap down to 20 seconds but the KTM-mounted pair were too good in the end, pulling out to a three-minute lead as they completed 31 laps.
Gillard set the fastest lap of the day on the third to last lap.
The event was used as a fundraiser for the Westpac Helicopter for both the Auckland and Waikato Regions, with more than $3000 raised.
The Pukekohe Motorcycle Club wishes to thank all the riders for making the day, and to all the club members who helped out.
Full results, click HERE
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com