Suzuki could be pushing hard for glory in this year’s New Zealand Cross-country Championships with rising star Scott Sowry announcing his determination to again win in the junior ranks.
The 15-year-old from Pahiatua will race his new Suzuki RM125 in the junior division of the four-round competition with the aim of winning that category outright, starting with round one near Pahiatua this Sunday.
He suffered a frustrating season last year. Despite being a top contender throughout the series, he didn’t finish at the rain-drenched final round and therefore missed out on defending his 2010 title.
But he’s back again this season and, if recent events are an indication, he’s faster than ever.
Sowry has been running among the top three in the senior ranks at his local Bushriders’ Cross-country Championships races, showing he is certainly on the pace to win the junior competition at national level.
Sowry also won the Australian Off-Road Series junior title in October.
And that’s plenty of reason to bring a smile to the face of the series’ main sponsor, Suzuki New Zealand.
Suzuki will once again support the New Zealand Cross-country Championships, electing this week to come on board as naming-rights sponsors for the 2012 series.
Sowry will have to be wary of threats from Raglan rider Matthew Quirke and Dannevirke’s Stacey Smyth, among others.
In the senior ranks, it’s likely to again be defending champion Adam Reeves to the fore, along with other hard-hitters such as Mokau’s Adrian Smith, Huntly’s Michael Vining, Napier’s John O’Dea, Ohope’s Brandon Given and New Plymouth’s Renny Johnston, to name a few.
Suzuki ace Mark Penny, of Te Awamutu, has indicated that business commitments will prevent him from contesting the entire series this year, but he anticipates being in action at round two near Huntly on March 25.
After Huntly the series heads down to the South Island, with round three in Marlborough on April 22 and the final round near Christchurch on May 12.
Sunday’s venue is at Lewis’ property, Parr Valley Road, and is signposted from the southern end of Pahiatua.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com