The third and final round of this year’s Dirt Guide Cross-country Series had been set for this coming Saturday and two individuals on the start line will be more nervous that most – Taranaki’s Sam Parker and Bay of Plenty’s Hadleigh Knight.
However, with the country now headed into a Level Four lock-down due to the latest COVID-19 pandemic, this weekend’s event has had to be postponed. A new date will be announced when the latest crisis eases.
Oparau’s James Scott took his Honda to win the senior race at the series opener in June, but he has since been snapped up for duties by an international race team and so the teenager is therefore instead racing enduro events in various parts of Europe.
So it was a different winner of the two-hour senior race at round two in July, Taupo’s Knight (Yamaha), and so he took over the series lead in the class.
New Plymouth teenager Parker (Husqvarna) won the 90-minute junior race at both rounds one and two and so he’s definitely in the driving seat for capturing junior honours.
Knight and Parker head to the final round in the coming weeks, with high hopes and realistic ambitions for winning their respective classes in 2021.
But all of this could change in an instant at the final round, when it’s finally run at a later date, racing set for the same popular venue, in forestry at Ohakuri, about halfway between Tokoroa and Taupo.
Knight can expect stern challenges at the final round from the likes of Helensville’s Tom Buxton, Wainuiomata’s Jake Whitaker, Palmerston North’s Paul Whibley, Taupo’s Wil Yeoman and Whitianga’s Blake Wilkins, among others, while Parker again can expect stiff competition from riders such as Rotorua’s Harrison McClintock, Taupo’s Josh Yeoman, Whangamata’s Ethan Jameson and New Plymouth’s Blake Lusk, to name just a few.
The 90-minute junior race will be set to start (with a shotgun blast) at about 9.30am (at a date yet to be announced), and the start of the two-hour senior race will follow at about midday on that date.
In addition to the expert grade riders, the series caters also for junior riders and for intermediates, veterans, women and mini riders as well.
Mini riders likely to impress at the final round include Taupiri’s Fergus Fulton, Mangatangi’s Cooper Fitzgerald, Rotorua’s Adrian Briggs, Masterton’s Harvey Williams and Hamilton’s Oliver Singleton. In addition, you should watch out for Taupo’s Maggie Moll in the novice women’s grade.
The Dirt Guide Series can be anything a rider wants it to be … a serious competition for New Zealand’s elite dirt bike racers, a challenging afternoon’s ride in the bush or just a leisurely cruise along pine needle-laden forest pathways.
The Dirt Guide Series is sponsored by Michelin, Bel Ray, Renthal, O’Neal, DRC, Zeta, Kiwi Rider magazine, Oakley goggles, Ogio, TCX boots, Yoshimura, Forest Trail Events, SatCo Logging Equipment and supported by BikesportNZ.com.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
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