Race to the Sky loom­ing

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS -

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

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