When the full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic struck New Zealand in March last year, a nationwide lock-down was imposed, sporting activities curtailed and travelling restricted, with the 2020 New Zealand Cross-country Championships barely underway at that time.
The competition was then postponed entirely for 2020, so no national champions were declared last season.
However, thanks to the generosity of the series’ major sponsors, Yamaha-Motor New Zealand, their support has been “rolled over” to continue on into 2021.
Preparations are well underway for the four-round 2021 series, the opening round set for farmland at Marton on February 28.
The Yamaha New Zealand Cross-country Championships then head to Central Hawke’s Bay for round two on March 14. The South Island hosts the second half of the series, with back-to-back rounds three and four on consecutive days, at Gore and Mosgiel respectively, on April 17 and 18.
Motorcycling New Zealand cross-country commissioner Chris Smyth said he was looking forward to a thrilling season.
“We can’t thank Yamaha enough for getting behind us once more,” he said.
“It will be fantastic to get back into the swing of things this year. New Zealand is so blessed with great opportunities to ride – terrain that can be both safe and exciting at the same time – and the incredible generosity of landowners makes all of this possible,” said Smyth.
“Although much of the public interest centres on the elite riders, this is a sport that appeals to all degrees of bike riding ability and there is a real family atmosphere at these events. It’s a pleasure to be involved.”
The New Zealand Cross-country Championships series is also supported by Northern Accessories, O’Neal apparel, The Dirt Guide, Oakley goggles, Bel Ray oils and Michelin tyres.
2021 Yamaha NZ Cross-Country Champs
Round One – Sunday, Feb 28 – Bush Riders Motorcycle Club, Cam Smith’s Farm in Marton;
Round Two – Sunday, March 14 – Central HBMCC, location TBC;
Round Three – Saturday, April 17 – Gore & Districts Motorcycle Club, location TBC;
Round Four – Sunday, April 18 – Mosgiel District Motorcycle Club, location TBC.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
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