Watch out world, here comes Te Awamutu’s Rachael Archer and she means business.
The 14-year-old Archer led a Husqvarna 1-2 to the top of the 125cc/250cc junior grade podium at the third round of six in this season’s NZXC Cross-country Series at Taikorea, near Palmerston North, on Sunday, humbling the boys in the process as she began her build-up for an international campaign early next year.
Archer was a convincingly winner of the gruelling one-hour cross-country race at Taikorea and this also elevated her to the top of the NZXC series standings, while Sunday’s runner-up, fellow Husqvarna TE125 rider Nick Wightman, also moved up the series rankings.
Waimauku’s Wightman is up to second in the standings, with series now at the halfway stage, although riders will count only five of the six rounds, with their one worst score discarded, and so Te Awamutu’s Daniel White (Kawasaki KX250F) will also be a contender for the crown when it all wraps up near Pahiatua on December 3.
White was a no-show on Sunday and so the Taikorea event will obviously be the “result” he discards.
But all of this academic, with Archer’s focus actually on her first major international campaign coming up at the start of next year.
“I’m heading to the United States in March to race in two rounds of the Grand National Cross-country Championships (GNCC), competing in the women’s grade,” said Archer, a year 10 pupil at St Peter’s Cambridge.
“There are 12 rounds in the GNCC, but I will race just two rounds, in Florida and Georgia, just to see how I’d go. I’d have to take nine months off school to do the whole series and that may have to wait until I’m finished with schooling,” she laughed.
If Archer’s “dipping toes into the water” of the GNCC scene turns out to be a success, a full campaign is certainly on the cards for the talented teenager.
Her stunning win on Sunday probably proved she’s starting to outgrow the domestic scene.
“It’s tough riding in sand and I knew Nick (Wightman) would get tired. Once I got past him I just kept on pushing hard to open up a gap on him,” said Archer.
“This was my first time racing at Taikorea, although I’d done some training here with (former New Zealand and two-time former US GNCC cross-country champion Paul Whibley) a few weeks ago.”
Archer’s eventual winning margin was just over two minutes over Wightman, with Gisborne’s Troy Andrews (Yamaha YZ125) finishing third, more than six minutes further back.
Fourth was Foxton’s Locky McKeah, followed by Napier’s Bryn Codd and Oparau’s William Hakiwai-Maikuku.
Cambridge’s Zara Gray (Husqvarna TE125) finished eighth overall and won the junior women’s grade.
The mini grade riders were sent out onto the main track with the juniors and the finishing order was Taupo brothers Will Yeoman and Josh Yeoman, first and second respectively, followed in third by Masterton’s Johnny Falloon.
The next round of the NZXC series is set for Matata on October 15.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
Find BikesportNZ.com on FACEBOOK here
Full story and more photos in your next issue of KIWI RIDER magazine.
Check back here on www.BikesportNZ.com during this week as we bring you more words and pictures from the weekend.