The 23rd edition of the big annual Suzuki Six-Hour Dirt Bike Challenge, set for next weekend, has been cancelled.
Due to a lack of entries, event organiser Sean Clarke has been forced to cancel the race and junior three-hour challenge that had been set for the following day.
The two races were to have been held next weekend, on November 28-29.
“We have literally only 27 bikes entered in the six-hour and 16 bikes entered in the junior three-hour and with the cost of running an event of this size means we would incur a big loss.
“I think there are a number of reasons why riders have not entered this year, the first one is that it may be too close to Christmas and there isn’t a lot of money around with a struggling economy.
“Another reason is that riders can’t ride their own bikes and have to share a bike in most of the classes.
“But this is not what the six-hour is about. The six-hour has always been a challenge to get to the end with a reliable bike, slick fuel stops and one of the riders riding an unfamiliar bike, but it seems now days riders want to ride their own bike so they can give it a full service between laps if they need to and this has never been the point of the six-hour.
“Thanks to the riders that have entered. I will be in contact for a full refund.
“Also, I would like to thank Suzuki New Zealand for their support and backing of the six-hour over the past 25 years. We have been running the six-hour since 2012 and have enjoyed good numbers for this event in the past.”
The race went less than half distance last year when persistent rain overnight Friday and throughout the early part of race day morning on Saturday turned the steep Ohakuri Forest course into a greasy mess.
This forced the organisers to wave the chequered flag after just two-and-a-half hours.
Auckland’s Chris Power, teamed with Palmerston North’s Adam Reeves, were eventually crowned champions last year, finishing ahead of the pairing of Morrinsville’s Simon Lansdaal and Reporoa’s Hadleigh Knight.
The champion pairing in 2013 was Taupo’s Brad Groombridge and Hawera’s Daryl Hurley.
The list of previous winners of this event is both long and illustrious.
Winner of the inaugural event in 1991 was Hawke’s Bay’s Adam Youren (Suzuki DR350), who rode solo, while fellow Hawke’s Bay men John McKee and Wayne Beere (Honda CR250) teamed up to win it the following year.
Other outright winners include Cam Mabey, Steven Bird, Kevin Archer, John McLaughlin, Mark Fuller, Paul Wilson, Dene Humphrey, Alex Giddy, Phil Smith, Sean Clarke, Mark Penny, Cam Negus, Brad Thomas, Corrie Sargent, Cody Cooper, Barry Morris, Joel Byrne, Michael Phillips, Ben Thomasen, Karl Power, Scott Columb and Mark Penny.
It will be sad indeed if the Suzuki Six-Hour does not leap back into life again next season.
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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