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Cross-Country Results Turned Upside Down

Cross-Country Results Turned Upside Down

by Andy McGechan | www.BikesportNZ.com
March 16, 2014

The sport of motorcycle cross-country racing is full of high-speed zigs and zags and now it’s just taken another 90-degree turn.

The second round of four in this season’s New Zealand Cross-country Championships was held near Huntly on Saturday with the results a complete reshuffle of those recorded at round one in Taranaki last month.

The winner in Taranaki was Maruia’s Ethan Bruce (Yamaha), with Mokau’s defending national champion Adrian Smith (Yamaha) forced to settle for fourth place after a terrible start to the three-hour marathon near Inglewood.

Those results were turned completely on their head on the steep hill country farmland at Waerenga, near Huntly, on Saturday with Smith winning the race and South Islander Bruce this time settling for fourth position overall.

That means the two rivals are locked together at the top of the standings, with Raglan’s Jason Dickey (Kawasaki) – who finished runner-up in Taranaki and third at Huntly – snapping at their heels as the series has now reached the halfway stage.

Taupo’s Brad Groombridge (Suzuki) finished runner-up to Smith on Saturday but he was only 30th in Taranaki and must now rely on excellent results in the remaining two rounds if he is to threaten for the title, while Eketahuna’s Daniel Christie (KTM) was fifth on Saturday.

The conditions were atrocious for the riders with Cyclone Lusi sweeping through the region and the race duration was shaved back from three hours to two because of safety fears in the worsening storm.

Meanwhile, 13-year-old Auckland KTM rider Jake Wightman won the earlier junior race – its 90-minute duration reduced by 15 minutes as the storm started to brew – followed closely by round one junior class winner Ben Fryer (Yamaha), of Waipukurau.

“On some parts of the course you had to lean hard into the wind to stay on the track and, through one corner, I was actually blown into a gate,” said Wightman, thrilled at the vast improvement from the ninth placing he had achieved at round one.

Wightman said he was “actually quite surprised” to learn he had won.

“Really?! I thought I was in about fifth.”

Eketahuna’s Charlie Richardson (KTM) finished third in the junior race, followed by Marton’s Ethan Breuer (Honda), with Otorohanga’s Aaron King (Honda) rounding out the top five.

The points from only three of the four rounds are to be counted towards the title, with riders to discard their worst result, so anything is still possible.

Rounds three and four of the national series will be held respectively in Westland (on Sunday, April 13) and Marlborough (Saturday, May 17).

ENDS

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