Race to the Sky looming
Auckland motorcyclist Chris Birch will debut at Race to the Sky on his big KTM1190 Adventure R machine.
Birch said his immediate answer was ‘‘hell yes’’ when invited to compete.
He had followed the race from 1998 to 2007 and felt it was a ‘‘wicked course’’.
His 1190ccKTM offroad touring bike puts out 150hp and is very different to the 50hp KTM 350 he normally uses for enduro events.
‘‘I’ve actually had it for quite a while and not had an opportunity to use it competitively. It’s pretty heavy so it will be interesting to see how it goes, so we’ve been doing some tyre testing on similar Central Otago roads over the past few days to try and find the best tyre for a bike like this which isn’t usually used for competition.’’
Birch’s 1190cc motorcycle is by far the biggest of the four heavyweight division motorcycles entered in Race to the Sky. His competitors will be on 500, 550 or 600cc machines.
There is a 20-strong motorcycle class and 105 confirmed entries across all classes. The Race to the Sky has been revived after a gap of eight years.
Front-running riders include Aucklander Nathan McAlwee and Invercargill’s Craig Hyde.
Six-time New Zealand Enduro Champion Chris Birch is taking on Repco Race to the Sky as his next big challenge. Photo: supplied/Simon Darby