Bay of Plenty’s Brad Groombridge, a stable of very fast Suzuki bikes and a flat track that was just crying out for full-throttle abuse could only mean one thing – time for the Taupo man to shine once again this season.
The 24-year-old locksmith won two of the three bike classes he entered at the 17th annual New Zealand motorcycle TT Championships near Kuratau at the weekend, a virtual repeat of the amazing success he enjoyed at the same event last season and, in fact, his double title success was the third consecutive time that he has won both the premier categories at the event.
It has been a stellar season for Groombridge.
Earlier this season Groombridge also won the New Zealand Enduro Championships in the expert grade and won the New Zealand Cross-country Championships in the open grade as well. He is also currently national MX1 class No.5 in the motocross rankings.
But TT racing was his mission for the weekend and he showed he was still top dog in that particular code as well.
“It is just one of those kinds of events that suits me. I grew up racing a lot of TT-style events in the Taupo region,” he said.
TT racing is like superbike racing on soil instead of tarmac – the racing is off-road and the competitors use dirt bikes or quad bikes, but, unlike motocross, there are no steep hills or skyward launch ramps to slow things down at the Bike Torque Yamaha-sponsored event.
Groombridge took his Suzuki RM-Z450 to win the MX1 class and raced his Suzuki RM-Z250 to also enjoy victory in the MX2 class at the weekend, but (riding a “vintage” 2008-model RM250 two-stroke) had to accept runner-up spot in the Enduro bike class, narrowly beaten to the top step of the podium by Eketahuna’s Charlie Richardson (KTM).
“I had a big get-off in the first enduro class race, on the fastest part of the circuit too,” he explained.
“There was a sharp right-hand kink and I hit it too fast and the back end just let go and high-sided me off the bike. Luckily there was no major damage, just a few bumps and bruises.
“The rain made it tricky, especially for visibility. I needed to be at the front right from the start. I managed to get good starts on the 450cc bike, but had to battle through traffic on the 250cc bike. I had some quite creative lines, so that helped me to get to the front,” said Groombridge.
Other title winners at the weekend were Christchurch’s Ian Ffitch (premier ATV); Napier’s Wade Taylor (ATV over-40 years); Kaiwaka’s Cullen Curtis (450cc production ATV and 12-16 years junior ATV); Taupiri’s Mark Fuller (enduro over-50 years); Mangakino’s Alex Dillon (women); New Plymouth’s Mitch Rowe (classic bikes and veterans over 45 years); Turangi’s Xavier Dalziel (125cc class); Taupo’s Daniel Scrimgeour (veterans over-35 years); Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis (12-16 years 125cc and 14-16 years 250cc); Opunake’s Zak Hetherington 13-16 years 85/150cc); Eketahuna’s Wade Bengston (8-12 years 85/150cc).
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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