In the end it was Drury’s Richard Sutton (pictured here) who got the job done, winning the six-round series by just a solitary point from Rotorua’s Ethan Harris.
The stage had been set. All the hard work was done. It would all come down to the final round. Who was going to take the glory and who was going home to rue those mistakes and count the “what ifs”?
This is how the final went down and how it all stacked up at the final in the Riverhead Forest.
Overnight rain had the usual slick clay, sufficiently greased up as if to host the world hog wrestling championships, but this was GNCC racing and this was dirt bike racing at its finest.
In the mini class Zandan Smith cleaned up. Using local knowledge, he was able to take the win on the day in the mini class. Zach Davey however has been the dominant force in the mini class this year and with a solid second place took home the Championship. Matt Erasmus was second and Toby Ahomiro came third for the season.
The Junior 85class has been Leo Coppings and another win sealed the deal. Millen Cargill showed good pace on his KTM 85 but will need to commit some more to challenge for the top spot. Alex Davey claimed the final podium spot.
Daniel Bates continued his control over the riders in the Junior 125 class and a solid third place at Riverhead secured him the title along with the Overall Junior Champion. Ryan Hayward made a season long battle out of it but just came up a few points shy. Josh Houghton was third on his YZ 125.
The seniors, who raced immediately afterwards, were probably glad that the juniors had gone out first and splashed out some of the puddles for them. Conditions were still extremely slick but improving as the sun shone down.
The major battle was for the series overall, bragging rights for the year, nationals series wasn’t run (due to the COVID-19 pandemic). And like with any true championship, only the strong will survive.
With no one rider winning more than one race, who was going to be standing tall once the dust settled.
Richard Sutton holeshot but a wrong turn handed the lead over to Tom Buxton. Helensville’s Buxton needed little encouragement and took off. A little local knowledge and a lot of skill and he gapped the field and took a comfortable win.
But that’s not where the story ends. Buxton may have won the battle but was not a factor in the war. Sutton, Harris and Rotorua’s Callum Dudson were the players with a shot at the title.
Sutton was in the best position, fighting with Manawatu’s Paul Whibley for second early in the race before eventually accepting 3rd place. Was third going to be enough? That would be up to Dudson and Harris.
Dudson was sitting in 4th but not making any moves forward, and Harris, who was struggling with an injury, was in survival mode and running in 6th.
This was how the race would finish up, making for one of the tightest point races in history.
The top three were separated by just two points. Sutton had done enough and took the championship. Harris was one point behind and left wondering what have might have been if he had been able to stay injury free. Dudson ended up one point back from Harris in third.
In the women’s class, Charlotte Russ dominated again and rightly so took home the championship. Tawny Floyd and Chrissy Tuck rounded out the podium on the day and for the series.
Brendon Howe took out the Senior 2 Stroke class. Vincent Seyb won the Senior 4 Stroke. Shane Frith won the 40+ Vets and Stewart Fleming won the 50+.
© Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
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