Cross-coun­try starts Sun­day

Hawke's Bay Today - - Indulge -

They’re not called the Bush Rid­ers for noth­ing.

The renowned Bush Rid­ers Mo­tor­cy­cle Club, based in Pahiatua, holds an en­vi­able rep­u­ta­tion for stag­ing cross-coun­try dirt bike races and, with such di­verse and in­ter­est­ing ter­rain all within an easy drive of the town, it’s not hard to see why this is so.

Start­ing this com­ing week­end, No­vem­ber 11, the 2018 edi­tion of the pop­u­lar Cen­tral Cross-coun­try Se­ries kicks off near Waipuku­rau with many of New Zea­land’s lead­ing mo­tocross, cross-coun­try and en­duro rac­ers ex­pected to line up.

As well as se­ri­ous se­nior-grade rid­ers, the five-round com­pe­ti­tion also caters for vet­er­ans, in­ter­me­di­ates, “so­cial” trail bike rid­ers, women and ju­niors, with the 90-minute ju­nior race set to go at 10am and the two-hour se­nior race set to blast off at mid­day.

Ad­di­tional prize money of $100 is of­fered to the rider who holeshots (snatches the lead at the first cor­ner of) the se­nior race (spon­sored by Ge­orge and Luce Wil­liams of Grassendale Ge­net­ics) and there’s also $50 on of­fer for the ju­nior holeshot rider (spon­sored by Ja­cob Hys­lop of Hill­top Con­trac­tors).

Lead­ing rid­ers ex­pected to line up on Sun­day in­clude for­mer New Zea­land and United States cross­coun­try cham­pion Paul Whi­b­ley, from Hi­matangi, last sea­son’s Cen­tral Cross-coun­try Se­ries XC1 class cham­pion Adam Eas­ton and fel­low Master­ton man Al­lan Gan­non, who was out­right win­ner of the se­ries last sea­son.

Oth­ers likely to shine on Sun­day in­clude Napier’s Bryn Codd, Strat­ford’s Karl Roberts, Eke­tahuna’s Daniel Christie, Feild­ing’s Hugh Lin­tott, Master­ton’s Sam Cal­laghan, Mar­ton’s Ethan Breuer, Whanganui’s Seth Rear­don, Eltham’s Adam Loveridge, Master­ton’s Ja­cob Hys­lop and Hun­ter­ville’s Han­nah Rush­worth, to name a few.

Bush Rid­ers Mo­tor­cy­cle Club pres­i­dent Grant Christie was keen to em­pha­sise the “fa­mous hos­pi­tal­ity” of­fered.

“It’s a real fam­ily at­mos­phere at th­ese events. The so­cial side of th­ese races are as good as the rac­ing, with our leg­endary free veni­son bar­be­cue and free re­fresh­ments at the end of rac­ing. This is not like a mo­tocross, where ev­ery­one just packs up and leaves when the rac­ing is done,” he said.

“We are again look­ing for­ward to pro­vid­ing a great se­ries and a com­pe­ti­tion that of­fers both a chal­lenge for se­ri­ous rac­ers and a great af­ter­noon’s rid­ing for the less se­ri­ous rid­ers too.

“I think we must be do­ing some­thing right be­cause the se­ries has con­tin­ued to grow over the years and at­tracts rid­ers from near and far.”

Al­ways a well-at­tended se­ries, it can trace its be­gin­nings to 1989, al­though there have been sev­eral name changes over the years and, in 2012, it be­came known as the Cen­tral Cross Coun­try Se­ries.

The Res­cue He­li­copter Ser­vices will ben­e­fit from a $10 do­na­tion for each rider en­tered on Sun­day.

At each round there will be tro­phies for first, sec­ond and third for the lead­ing over­all se­nior and ju­nior rid­ers and, at the fi­nal round, there will be a prize-giv­ing with tro­phies for the se­ries over­all win­ners and the var­i­ous class win­ners.

Photo: Andy McGechan, Bike­sportNZ.com

Al­lan Gan­non (Honda), out­right win­ner of the se­nior grade last sea­son.

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