Taupo’s Brad Groombridge is threatening to run away with the New Zealand Cross-country Championships again this season and just one more win will be enough for Groombridge to successfully defend his 2016 crown.
The 26-year-old Groombridge took his Suzuki RM-Z450 to another convincing win at the second of four rounds of the 2017 series near Mosgiel on Sunday, making it two wins from two starts and giving him a solid points advantage at the halfway stage of the championship chase.
Anything is still possible with two more rounds still to come, but it seems a successful defence of his 2016 crown is well on track for Groombridge.
Aucklander Sam Greenslade (KTM) was again his toughest opponent, the financial advisor from Coatesville leading from the start, until Groombridge warmed up, worked through traffic and snatched the lead on lap four of 11.
Greenslade refused to back off and Groombridge eventually crossed the finish line of the three-hour race just 14 seconds clear of Greenslade.
Third overall on Sunday was Taupo’s Nathan Tesselaar (KTM), making the round two results a virtual carbon copy of round one.
Te Kauwhata’s Jacob Brown (KTM) finished fourth, with Christchurch’s Hamish Macdonald (Sherco) fifth overall on Sunday.
“The track was fast and tough too,” said Groombridge afterwards.
“The laps were only taking us about 17 minutes to complete. Sam (Greenslade) led for the first three or so laps, but then he stalled his bike in a corner and I was able to pass for the lead.”
Meanwhile, in the 90-minute junior race held earlier in the day, Raglan’s Logan Shaw (Honda) made amends for failing to finish round one, taking the win on Sunday and crossing the line ahead of Cambridge’s Seton Head (KTM), Hamilton’s Caleb Richardson (KTM), Raglan’s Coby Rooks (Honda) and Eltham’s Adam Loveridge (Husqvarna).
The series next heads to Marlborough for round three on April 30 and the final round is set for Cambridge on May 13.
Points only for the best three of four rounds are counted, so riders will discard their worst result, helping to ensure the battle will probably go down to the wire, although just one more win will see Groombridge wrap it up again for 2017.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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