They had arrived to contest this unique cross-over trials/enduro/cross-country competition, a motorcycling package dreamed up by Kiwi enduro legend Dougy Herbert and hosted on his family’s farm property, just 15 kilometres south-west of New Plymouth.
Tough, moderate or just a little bit easier, the course options were entirely up to the individuals and, although riders were classified as Gold, Silver or Bronze grade, it really only mattered what lap time could be achieved by each individual competitor.
The tricky part was deciding on the risk-versus-reward factor, whether to take the easier-but-longer route or to take the much shorter but incredibly more difficult pathway and riders, regardless of their actual ability, could decide the best pathway for themselves.
The four-lap race surely sorted the boys from the men, the chequered flag going out when the first Gold grade rider had completed his four laps.
Each lap was divided into two timed sections – the cross-country loop and The Matrix, a short arenacross-style extreme enduro prologue course that could also be described as being quite similar to a typical trials section.
Each timed section was separated by a non-timed section or, to put it another way, each lap was divided into four parts, only two of which were counted towards a rider’s final lap time.
Within The Matrix arena, each of the first three “dabs” (touching a foot to the ground) would be penalised with 10 seconds being added to a rider’s time and any more than that wouldn’t be counted against the rider. An engine stall, a dropped bike, or riding out of the course bounds incurred a maximum 50-second penalty.
“Every time I try to improve the event; making it safer,” said Herbert.
“Historically, the trials club guys and the dirt bike codes do their own thing, but, when I went to the international Red Bull Romaniacs (extreme enduro event in Romania), you could see that the trials guys could find traction where nobody else could,” he said.
“So this event is a cross-pollination of the bike codes, where they can all learn from one another. Everyone will have learned from something here today.
“Everybody wants to be pushed a little bit out of their comfort zones and my obstacle course is based on The Matrix movie … you can take the red pill or the blue pill, the easy option or the hard option. The hard option will save you time and the easy option has less risk but takes longer. Obviously the fastest rider wins.”
Among the entries on Sunday was national trials No.1 Dylan Ball, from Wellington, and top enduro riders such as New Plymouth’s Tony Parker and Tokoroa’s Sean Clarke, to name a few. There was also an E-bike (mountain-bike) class.
Inglewood’s Luke Thompson eventually won the Gold Grade overall on Monday, finishing ahead of Tony Parker and Inglewood’s Wayne Thompson.
The Silver Grade was won by New Plymouth’s Sam Parker, ahead of New Plymouth’s Josh Houghton and Urenui’s Dan O’Leary.
The Bronze Grade was won by New Plymouth’s Thomas Logan, who finished ahead of New Plymouth’s Aiden Appert and Inglewood’s Cody Smith.
The E-bike class was won by New Plymouth’s Jaxon Sharp, followed by Waitara’s Scott Vickers and New Plymouth’s Kobe Allen-Raven.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
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