Auckland’s Sam Greenslade has shown once again that consistency counts for everything when it comes to off-road motorcycle racing.
The multi-talented Kawasaki ace from the North Shore outlasted and outsprinted many of New Zealand’s leading dirt bike exponents when he won this year’s big annual Dirt Guide Cross-country Series, which wrapped up with the third and final round near Atiamuri on Saturday.
Greenslade headed off Kiwi international Chris Power (Yamaha YZ250), the Aucklander a class winner in the national enduro championships earlier this season, and Mokau’s four-time national cross-country champion Adrian Smith (Yamaha YZ250).
Greenslade was consistently among the leaders throughout the series and, although he didn’t win a round outright, he was twice on the podium and his worst finish was still a respectable fourth overall.
Titirangi’s Callan May (Yamaha YZ250F) won Saturday’s final two-hour race ahead of Power – with Greenslade borrowing his sister’s Kawasaki KX250F to settle for third overall – but this was May’s only appearance in the series and so he was no threat for the outright crown.
Greenslade posted a 2-4-3 score-card for the series win, with Power’s 12-2-2 results earning him the No.2 step on the podium and Smith went 1-3-22 and had to settle for third outright.
“I guess consistency paid off,” said the 23-year-old Greenslade afterwards.
“I finished second at round one and was leading the race at round two when I hit a tree and crashed. I still managed to finish fourth that day.
“I needed a bit of luck too, just to get to the start line for round three on Saturday. Parts hadn’t arrived for my Kawasaki KX450F and so I had to borrow my sister’s KX250F. I was winging it a bit because her bike wasn’t really set up for me. I swapped over the handlebars to put my ones on her bike, but that was it basically.
“I’m pretty happy, though, to win the series in the end.”
Helensville’s Tom Buxton (KTM 200XC) won the intermediate grade on Saturday, ahead of Te Puke’s Daniel Marsh (KTM 350 EXC-F) and Thames rider Natasha Cairns (KTM 200XC).
Buxton scored 2-1-1 results for the series to win the intermediate class outright, while Marsh’s 4-4-2 score-card earned him the overall runner-up spot.
In the junior race staged earlier in the day, Oparau Kawasaki ace James Scott (Kawasaki KX85) led from the start and kept Auckland’s Jake Wightman (KTM EXC 125) behind him for the opening lap. Wightman eventually snuck past when Scott overshot a corner and he pulled away to win by two minutes, Wightman taking the overall series win for the second year in a row.
In third place was Hamilton’s Luke Taylor (Gas Gas 125), who beat Te Awamutu’s Daniel White (Kawasaki KX125) on the day to steal runner-up place overall from White. Te Awamutu’s Rachel Archer (the daughter of cross-country and enduro legend Kevin Archer) took her KTM SX85 into seventh on the day, thereby doing enough to win the 85cc class overall.
The Dirt Guide Series was sponsored by Michelin, Bey Ray, Renthal, O’Neal, Troy Lee Designs, DRC, Zeta, Kiwi Rider magazine, TCX boots, Yoshimura and Suomy helmets.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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