Taupo’s Brad Groombridge is a multi talented dirt bike racer – a current top level motocross rider, a former national enduro champion and he is also the reigning national cross-country champion – so it’s just as well his motorcycles are versatile machines too.
The 27-year-old Groombridge is using this year’s motocross nationals to help him prepare for his New Zealand Cross-country Championships title defence and the calendar could not have suited him any better.
The four-round motocross nationals kicked off in Taranaki at the weekend and the four-round cross-country nationals begin in Huntly this coming Saturday, the racing in New Plymouth giving him the perfect final workout ahead of his trip to Huntly.
The Taupo locksmith set himself an incredible task in Taranaki on Sunday, entering the MX1 class on the same Suzuki RM-Z450 that he will use to campaign the cross-country nationals and taking a Suzuki RM-Z250 to tackle the MX2 (250cc) class as well.
Groombridge finished a creditable seventh overall in the MX1 class on Sunday and stunned his rivals in the MX2 class by finishing the weekend in second spot overall.
Both the 26-rider MX1 class and the 39-rider MX2 class were brimming with international motocross talent and, perhaps most remarkably, Groombridge finished his weekend’s MX2 class assault as overall runner-up to Kiwi international and defending national MX2 champion Hamish Harwood (CML KTM Racing Team), but ahead of Australian former Grand Prix racer Jay Wilson (Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team).
Wilson was New Zealand MX2 champion the last time he raced here, in 2015, and he has just returned from a season racing the world championships in Europe.
The motocross season continues with round two in Rotorua in two weeks’ time, but Groombridge has already re-focussed his attentions towards defending his cross-country crown, starting with round one of that series near Huntly this coming weekend.
“My aim is to get a reasonable start and move forward from there. I expect I’ll be as fast, if not faster, than last year. My fitness is very good at the moment,” said Groombridge.
“I want to put some good points in the bank this weekend, so that it takes some of the pressure off me for the rest of the cross-country series.”
Meanwhile, riding an identical Suzuki RM-Z250, Opunake’s 2017 national women’s champion Taylar Rampton not-surprisingly dominated round one of the inaugural Women’s Cup on Sunday, the cup competition being run in conjunction with the first two rounds of the senior men’s nationals.
Rampton registered a 1-1-2 score-card and ended the day with a three-point advantage over former national women’s champion Letitia Alabaster (KTM), of Rotorua, with and another Rotorua rider, Mel Patterson (KTM), nine points further back in third-equal overall. Motueka’s Roma Edwards (Yamaha) is level in points with Patterson, but missed out on a podium place because of the count-back rule.
After Sunday’s opener, the motocross series heads to Rotorua for round two on February 25. Round three is set for Hawke’s Bay on March 11, with the fourth and final round in Taupo on March 24.
After the opening round of the New Zealand Cross-country Championships near Huntly this Saturday, the series heads to Ormondville, in Central Hawke’s Bay, for round two on March 18; round three near Taupo on April 8 and finally it all wraps up near Mosgiel on May 12.
It looks like Groombridge is going to have a busy few months of racing.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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Full results can be found HERE
Leading standings after round one of the 2018 New Zealand Motocross Championships:
1 Kayne Lamont (Hamilton, Yamaha) 75 Points
2 Cody Cooper (Mount Maunganui, Honda) 60 Points
3 Kirk Gibbs (Australia, KTM) 60 Points
4 John Phillips (Rotorua, Honda) 52 Points
5 Rhys Carter (Mount Maunganui, Kawasaki) 49 Points
6 Hamish Harwood (Auckland, KTM) 44 Points
7 Brad Groombridge (Taupo, Suzuki) 39 Points
8 Campbell King (Dunedin, KTM) 38 Points
9 Cohen Chase (Taupo, KTM) 37 Points
10 Jared Guthrie (Nelson, Yamaha) 35 Points
1 Hamish Harwood (Auckland, KTM) 75 Points
2 Brad Groombridge (Taupo, Suzuki) 60 Points
3 Jay Wilson (Australia, Yamaha) 55 Points
4 Hayden Smith (Taihape, KTM) 53 Points
5 Daryl Hurley (Hawera, Suzuki) 46 Points
6 Micah McGoldrick (Tauranga, Honda) 43 Points
7 Trent Collins (Ohaupo, Honda) 42 Points
8 Logan Blackburn (Te Puke, Kawasaki) 39 Points
9 Cooper Pozniak (Australia, Husqvarna) 38 Points
10 Mason Wilkie (Masterton, Yamaha) 38 Points
NATIONAL 125cc CLASS:
1 Maximus Purvis (Mangakino, Yamaha) 72 Points
2 Mason Semmens (Australia, KTM) 69 Points
3 Seton Head (Cambridge, KTM) 52 Points
4 Joshua Bourke-Palmer (Rotorua, Yamaha) 48 Points
5 Jacob Beal (Napier, Yamaha) 45 Points
6 Broc Martens (Auckland, KTM) 45 Points
7 Grason Veitch (Dunedin, KTM) 41 Points
8 Liam Kerr (Nelson, Yamaha) 36 Points
9 Zak Hetherington (Okato, TM) 30 Points
10 Tommy Watts (Wairoa, Husqvarna) 28 Points
1 Taylar Rampton (Opunake, Suzuki) 70 Points
2 Letitia Alabaster (Rotorua, KTM) 67 Points
3 Mel Patterson (Rotorua, KTM) 58 Points
4 Roma Edwards (Motueka, Yamaha) 58 Points
5 Samantha Kelly (Te Kuiti, Yamaha) 50 Points
6 Chloe Steel (Te Awamutu, Honda) 44 Points
7 Robyn Turnbull (Mangawhai, Yamaha) 42 Points
8 Nicolette Epps (Taupo, KTM) 40 Points
9 Christina Cameron (Tauranga, KTM) 35 Points
10 George Swift (Warkworth, Suzuki) 32 Points