The latest ground-breaking motorcycle series is set to blast off in Taranaki featuring a host of Kiwi internationals.
The Taranaki Motorcycle Club’s inaugural Energy Honda Cross-country Series will get the dirt churning over just before Christmas and runs over four rounds, wrapping up on March 3.
The earth-shattering new series kicks off at Blue Mountains, at Tarata, east of Inglewood, on Saturday, December 10, and will feature a three-hour senior race, all competitors lap-scored with electronic transponders, and includes classes for under-300cc and over-300cc bikes, veterans and clubmen riders as well.
The Taranaki region has long been regarded as a nursery ground for the country’s off-road motorcycling talent, from the entire King family of brothers, including New Plymouth’s 1996 500cc world motocross champion Shayne King, Hawera’s former New Zealand and Australian motocross and supercross champion Daryl Hurley, former national 500cc motocross and super motard champion Mitch Rowe, of Bell Block, and current enduro and cross-country champion Adrian Smith, of Mokau.
This latest series could become the breeding ground for the region’s next generation of superstars.
“This will really test the riders,” said organiser and sponsor Craig Morrison, of New Plymouth.
“We expect to see the cream of New Zealand’s off-road riding talent arrive for the races.
“We already have expressions of interest from such top Kiwi internationals as International Six Days gold medal winner Adrian Smith, from Mokau, Taupo’s national enduro champion Rory Mead, Huntly’s Michael Vining, Taranaki’s Greg Ngeru (pictured above) and possibly even former American Grand National Cross-country Champion Paul Whibley, of Pahiatua, who will be home in New Zealand for the summer months.”
Each of the four rounds will also feature a social trail ride at the same venue the following day, allowing riders and their families to extend their stay and enjoy double the amount of off-road riding.
December 10: Blue Mountains X-Country, Tarata, east of Inglewood
January 14: Black Basin X-Country, Kaipikari Road, Urenui
February 4: Tarata X-Country, Tarata Saddle.
March 3: Purangi X-Country, past Tarata, towards Matau.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com