Penny Cashes In
Penny Cashes In
APRIL 16, 2007: The North Island Motorcycle Cross-country Championships were won this year by a man who entered the series late and only as an afterthought.
With only two of the three rounds to count towards the title, it didn't really matter that Te Awamutu's Mark Penny (Suzuki RMZ250) skipped the series opener near Pahiatua in March.
He more than made up for that by finishing a close runner-up to Yamaha's Cam Negus at round two near Rotorua and then dominating the day at the third and final round near Ashhurst, in the Manawatu, on Sunday.
Penny led New Plymouth's Mitch Rowe (Yamaha) and Pahiatua's Adam Reeves (Suzuki) to the finish, also giving the 32-year-old bike shop parts manager the under-300cc four-stroke class title.
"I had a few problems with crashes but I feel like I've got the form now to go on and win the New Zealand title," said Penny afterwards.
"I wasn't originally going to race this series and I missed round one because of a clash with another event I wanted to do. But I'm glad I got involved."
The one-off national championship will be raced near Waipukurau in three weeks (May 6) and Penny now rates as hot favourite to win that.
Te Kauwhata's Jason Moorfield (Kawasaki) showed consistency counts. He was runner-up at round one of the North Island series, finished sixth at Rotorua's round two and was fourth on Sunday, good enough for him to claim second equal overall for the championship, level on points with Reeves.
Te Kauwhata's Luke Ramsey (Kawasaki) won the under-21 years' category and also finished runner-up in the under-200cc two-stroke class after he was beaten to the title by Whangamata's Jason Davis (KTM) on Sunday.
In addition to finishing second equal overall, Reeves (Suzuki RM250) also won the over-200cc two-stroke title, six points clear of national cross-country champion Adrian Smith (Awakino, Honda).
Pahiatua's Simon Hull (KTM) won the over-300cc four-stroke class, while Palmerston North's Steven Bird (Yamaha) won the veteran's (over 35) category and Lewis Speedy (KTM) beat Manawatu's Gordon Brooker (Yamaha) to the mega vets (over 45) title.
Invercargill's Kylie Dorr (Suzuki) won the women's class ahead of Raetihi's Letitia Alabaster (Yamaha).