A pandemic-related blip caused a slight delay to the start of round one of the 2021 New Zealand Cross-country Championships, but the wait was worthwhile with some brilliant racing witnessed on Sunday.
Once a paramedic had been located, it was all go on the farmland property near Marton and now that the first instalment of both junior and senior racing has been concluded, the situation is clearer as to who might eventually become national champions this season
There are certainly a few frontrunners, with Napier’s Tommy Watts, Palmerston North’s Paul Whibley, Napier’s Reece Lister, Raglan’s Brandon Given, Whanganui’s Seth Reardon and Glen Murray’s Sam ‘Charlie’ Brown foremost among the senior contenders and Taupo’s Wil Yeoman, Eketahuna’s Luke Brown, Dannevirke’s Charlie Free, Rotorua’s Daniel Bates, Cambridge’s Bailey Morgan and Te Awamutu’s Jack Carmichael the leading junior contenders.
It was another massive undertaking to arrange/manage/produce an event like this and credit goes to the host Bush Riders Motorcycle Club personnel, the farm owners (including former national cross-country and national enduro champion Cam Smith), Motorcycling New Zealand cross-country commissioner Chris Smyth, MNZ series steward Lauren Stockley and MNZ official Bob Grover, plus the scoring team led by John Rushworth.
Today we offer you a few more photos from Sunday’s race action.
Round two is expected to go ahead near Dannevirke on Sunday, March 14 (instead of near Flemington, as was previously scheduled), before the riders head to the two South Island events that will wrap up the series, at Gore on April 17 and at Mosgiel the following day.
Points from only the best three results from the four rounds will be counted towards the championship titles, with riders to discard their worst result. This also allows competitors the option of having to make only one trip across Cook Strait.
The New Zealand Cross-country Championships series is supported by Yamaha NZ, O’Neal apparel, The Dirt Guide, Oakley goggles, Bel Ray oils and Michelin tyres.
2021 NZ Cross-Country Champs
Round One – Sunday, February 28 – Bush Riders MCC, Marton
Round Two – Sunday, March 14 – Central Hawke’s Bay MCC, Dannevirke
Round Three – Saturday, April 17 – Gore & Districts MCC, Gore
Round Four – Sunday, April 18 – Mosgiel District MCC, Mosgiel
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
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