To varying degrees, this summer’s race action has been robbed of some very bright talent.
Australian three-time New Zealand superbike champion Robbie Bugden, Cambridge’s national 125cc motocross champion Damien King and Taupo’s Motocross of Nations team rider Brad Groombridge have all fallen victim to the intense racing over the past week.
Brisbane rider Bugden crashed and broke his leg at the annual Boxing Day races on Wanganui’s Cemetery Circuit and will likely be a non-starter at this year national superbike championships, set to kick off at levels Raceway at the end of January.
King fell victim to a very slick and slippery track at the annual Whakatane Summercross on Tuesday, dislocating his left shoulder.
At the time, he was on target to win the MX2 class at Summercross.
Fortunately it is expected that he will line up in the MX2 class at this year’s nationals, which kick off near Timaru on February 20, but he is not likely to race at the annual Woodville Motocross on January 30.
The third high-profile victim, Hawera-based Groombridge, is the saddest case of all.
Showing splendid form in recent weeks and making him favourite to take over the lead in the Lites class at the supercross nations – round two is this afternoon in his home town of Taupo – he crashed out of the stand-alone New Zealand Supercross Open at Te Puke on Thursday evening.
He dislocated a shoulder and also broke a collarbone. How long he takes to recover from that is anybody’s guess but BikesportNZ.com believes he’ll still be fit enough to line up for the motocross nationals.
Groombridge won the MX2 class at Summercross and was a close second, behind another injured-and-out rider, Queenstown’s Scotty Columb, in the Lites class of the supercross nationals.
The sport of motocross also lost Taupo’s Ben Townleyand Mount Maunganui’s Mason Phillips earlier this season.