This year’s sixth annual Korito Technical Matrix event again drew a diverse and talented field of off-road bike riders to Taranaki, this time including an international superstar.
The world class British extreme enduro legend Graham Jarvis was quickly into his stride and, not unexpectedly, produced an absolute masterclass during his visit.
The man from Yorkshire comfortably won the recent four-lap Taranaki event by nearly 10 minutes from local father-and-son pair Sam Parker and Tony Parker, with Napier’s seven-time former New Zealand trials champion Warren Laugesen and New Plymouth trials hero Matt Foster rounding out the top five in the elite Gold Grade.
“I had a really good day here,” said Jarvis afterwards. “It was good fun and good training for me. It was good to see such a great turn-out and I hope to come back next year.”
Fourth-placed Laugesen, the first of the trials bike riders to finish, was also enthusiastic about returning for another crack at the Korito Technical Matrix.
“It was a big effort from the organisers,” said Laugesen. “This event should perhaps be worthy now of national status. It was a great format and interesting course and had a bit of everything to keep everyone on their toes.
“Fitness was my downfall,” said the 49-year-old. “I was expecting to go and just have fun, but the competitive nature within me took over. I do hope to be back next year, it was well worth the trip.”
The novel event is a unique cross-over between trials/enduro/cross-country competition, a motorcycling package dreamed up by Kiwi enduro legend Dougy Herbert.
Even many of the Gold Grade riders had possibly underestimated just how difficult the course would be.
Kiwi former International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) gold medal-winning enduro rider Sean Clarke commented “the course was too hard for me today. I had not really prepared myself properly for this”.
Each of the four laps was divided into two timed sections – the cross-country loop and multi-choice The Matrix.
“Graham didn’t actually have it all go his way,” said Herbert. “He was briefly side-lined when his rear tyre broke away from the rim and, fortunately, he managed to get it rectified. But he did lose quite some time and it was actually Laugesen who led the event after the first lap,” said Herbert.
“Jarvis had to really put his head down for the next three laps and we got to see him at his best.
“We’ve run this event six times now and it’s the first win also for the Husqvarna brand. It’s level in the trials-versus-dirt bike head-to-head battle. We had 78 riders lining up to race this year and that’s almost double our record from previous years.
“We had so many riders indicating that they’d be keen to return, including Jarvis, and the positive feedback was enormous. We’re obviously doing something right here.
“This year we had a guy who wins these things at international level and Jarvis seemed comfortable with everything we threw at him.”
This would not have been a surprise to anybody.
Jarvis is a five-time British trials champion and a five-time winner of the famous Red Bull Erzbergrodeo, held each year on daunting terrain in and around an iron ore mine and quarry in central Austria.
He also won a record seventh Red Bull Romaniacs event in 2022, the gruelling race that is held annually in the steep and treacherous Carpathian Mountains near Sibiu, in Romania.
That this year’s Korito Technical Matrix in Taranaki could attract such a high-profile international competitor as Jarvis is a massive tribute to the event and high praise indeed to Herbert and his hardworking crew of volunteers who create and manage the course.
Meanwhile, the Silver Grade at the 2023 Korito Technical Matrix was won by Whangamata’s Ethan Jameson, ahead of Urenui pair Dan O’Leary and Rob Berrington Smith.
The Bronze Grade was won by Ryan Corbett, who finished ahead of fellow Taranaki man Travis Taylor and Whangaparaoa’s Nathan Refoy.
The event and Jarvis’ bike was sponsored by Johnston’s Moto of Inglewood, Egmont Industrial Supplies and Hunger Contracting.
© Words by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
Photo by Jesse Wickham
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