You could be forgiven for thinking that the going will be tough when you hear that the venue is a place called Tar Hill.
But Sunday’s off-road motorcycling event south of Tokoroa should be neither sticky nor too steep.
Besides this, dirt bike riders are a tough breed anyway and they also know that the man who organises the Dirt Guide Cross-country Series, Tokoroa’s Sean Clarke, is not a cruel man.
It is the second round of three for the popular Dirt Guide Series on Sunday, the course at Tar Hill on forestry land about 12 kilometres south of Tokoroa, and Clarke has promised tracks that will be both fun and flowing.
“We have not been at Tar Hill for about a year now, so all the tracks will be nice and fresh,” he said.
The 2017 edition of the Dirt Guide Series kicked off at Ohakuri – about halfway between Tokoroa and Taupo – last month (May 14) and such was the course that day that riders on all capacities of bike were competitive with one another, the eventual winner of the two-hour senior race actually riding one of the smallest bikes in the field.
It was a Yamaha 1-2-3-4 when former Kiwi international and former national cross-country champion Paul Whibley, of Taikorea, took a 2013-model Yamaha YZ125 to win that day, while runner-up was Muriwai’s Luke Mobberley (Yamaha YZ250, pictured above), with Cambridge’s Ashton Grey (Yamaha WR250F), Titirangi’s Callan May (Yamaha YZ250F) and Hamilton’s Chris Power (Honda CRF450) rounding out the top five.
Last season’s Dirt Guide Series winner, Coatesville’s Sam Greenslade (KTM EXC-F 250), had been in the runner-up position, but he ran out of fuel just one kilometre from the end of lap four.
With the series running over three rounds this year, there are no ‘discard’ results and all rounds are counted towards the final tally, meaning it will be imperative for trophy hopefuls to overcome the likes of Whibley, Mobberley and Grey this weekend if they hope to push on and claim victory at the final round.
Talent runs deep at the sharp end of competition, with Rotorua’s Bradley Lauder (KTM), Wellington’s Jake Whitaker (KTM), Te Awamutu’s Kevin Archer (KTM), Waimauku’s Jake Wightman (KTM), Masterton’s Allan Gannon (Yamaha), Eketahuna’s Charlie Richardson (Husqvarna), Helensville’s Tom Buxton (KTM) and Cambridge’s Ashton Grey (Yamaha), to name just a few, among those worth watching.
In addition to the senior riders, the series caters also for junior riders and for intermediates, veterans and women as well.
Thames rider Natasha Cairns will be firm favourite to win the women’s section, although Te Awamutu’s Rachael Archer will also be a stand-out for the women.
Sunday’s 90-minute junior race starts at about 9.30am, with the two-hour senior race to start at about midday.
The third and final round of the Dirt Guide Series is due back at Ohakuri again, on July 9.
The Dirt Guide Series is sponsored by Michelin, Bel Ray, Renthal, O’Neal, DRC, Zeta, Kiwi Rider magazine, Oakley, TCX boots, Yoshimura, Forest Trail Events and SatCo Logging Equipment.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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