Bay of Plenty’s Brad Groombridge is not wasting any time.
The Suzuki rider from Taupo will be an extremely busy man again this season, the 26-year-old again tackling three separate motorcycling codes and the pressure is on as he’s expected to win, or at least do very well, in all of them.
The national MX1 No.5 is already midway through his 2017 New Zealand Motocross Championships campaign, running eighth overall in the premier MX1 class after two of four rounds.
Groombridge is also the defending national enduro champion and he is currently a close second overall after two rounds of the 2017 New Zealand Enduro Championships, with the latest round of that series held near Whangamata just over a week ago.
But wait, there’s more.
He is also the defending champion in the New Zealand Cross-country Championships and the 2017 edition of that series kicked off in Central Hawke’s Bay on Sunday, with Groombridge again featuring prominently.
This first of four rounds was being raced on a farmland course near Dannevirke and Groombridge was quickly pushing for the lead.
“I had a terrible start, in about 40th position after the gun went off. The bike started first kick, but I was just a bit slow to get going.
“I was into the lead after about two laps, each of those laps only taking about 20 minutes. So it wasn’t long before the course got quite rough with so much traffic going over the same route.”
Groombridge caught and passed early race leader Sam Greenslade, from Coatesville, who then passed Groombridge back when the Suzuki man came into the pit zone to refuel.
Groombridge soon caught back up to KTM rider Greenslade and retook the lead, extending that when Greenslade then took his chance to pit for fuel.
The order remained the same until the conclusion of the three-hour senior race, Groombridge eventually winning by nearly two minutes from Greenslade, with Taupo’s Nathan Tesselaar finishing third. Titirangi’s Callan May and Mokau’s four-time former national cross-country champion Adrian Smith rounded out the top five.
Te Awamutu’s Daniel White won the 90-minute junior race held earlier in the day, with Raglan’s Coby Rooks, Cambridge’s Seton Head, Hamilton’s Caleb Richardson and Cambridge’s Callum Paterson completing the top five.
The series next heads to Mosgiel for round two on April 2. Round three is set for Marlborough on April 30 and the final round is due in Cambridge on May 13.
Motorcycling New Zealand cross-country commissioner Chris Smyth was pleased with the large number of riders turning out.
“A total of 29 juniors started their race on Sunday, the course set out over eight kilometres of farmland. Defending national junior champion Logan Shaw (from Raglan) led for the first four laps, followed closely by Daniel White, until Shaw’s bike failed.
“With 72 seniors starting their race, it made for a very physically demanding 18-kilometre loop, which might have been dusty if it was not for the wind. All the riders enjoyed the track but I think they were pleased to see the chequered flag,” said Smyth.
Points only for the best three of four rounds are counted, so riders will discard their worst result, ensuring the battle will go down to the wire.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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