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Suzuki Six-Hour an Iconic Race

Suzuki Six-Hour an Iconic Race


SEPTEMBER 30, 2014: Have you got the skills, the pace and the strength to race a dirt bike at full-throttle for half a day?

Of course you’ll also need a huge dose of stamina to tackle the annual Suzuki Six-Hour Dirt Bike Challenge this weekend, and, even if you split the riding duties a team-mate, Saturday’s gruelling cross-country marathon is an incredibly tough proposition.

The popular marathon race in the Ohakuri Forest, off State Highway 1, about halfway between Tokoroa and Taupo, is expected to be another classic, with an abundance of ‘star’ riders keen to do battle, perhaps none more so than last year’s champion pairing of Brad Groombridge and Daryl Hurley.

Taupo’s Groombridge and Hawera’s Hurley won last year’s edition ahead of Yamaha pair Adrian Smith and Callan May, and with Groombridge and Hurley combining again and Smith and May not entered, the Suzuki pair are obvious favourites to make it back-to-back wins on Saturday.

However, despite their own star rating, 24-year-old Groombridge and 38-year-old Hurley will come up against some heavyweight opposition, including last weekend’s Woodhill Two-man Cross-country series winners Josh Jack (Suzuki RM250) and Luke Mobberley (Gas Gas EC125), from Kaukapakapa and Muriwai Beach respectively, as well as Auckland’s former national enduro champion Chris Power (Yamaha YZ450F), who will team up with Palmerston North’s three-time former national cross-country champion Adam Reeves (Yamaha YZ450F).

In a new twist this year, riders are permitted to ride their own bikes, rather than share one bike between the two of them, as in past seasons, and this means Groombridge and Hurley may campaign both their own Suzuki RM-Z450 and RM-X450 model machines.

Waikato pair Damien King and Jesse Wiki finished third overall on a Honda last year, while Auckland's Shaun Fogarty and Raglan's Jason Dickey teamed up to finish fourth for Kawasaki last year and Aucklander Sam Greenslade and Hokianga's Damon Nield secured fifth place overall.

Any of several dozen two-rider crews could threaten the Groombridge/Hurley reign.

The iconic Suzuki Six-Hour will be followed the next day by the second annual Suzuki Junior Three-Hour race at the same venue, although the riders will be traversing a different and slightly-less daunting route through the Ohakuri Forest.

The two races are sponsored by The Dirt Guide, Bel-Ray, Michelin tyres, Renthal bars, DRC, O’Neal apparel, Yoshimura exhausts, TCX boots, Kiwi Rider magazine and Oakley goggles.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

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