Thursday, December 30


Brad Groombridge
Photo by Andy McGechan,
Suzuki’s Brad Groombridge found traction where there was none at this year’s annual Summercross event near Whakatane on Tuesday.
The traditional big post-Christmas motocross in the Bay of Plenty was hot, dry and dusty for Monday’s junior race action but turned into a mud bath for the senior and veteran racers who lined up for day two of the action.
Rain and high winds lashed the track at Awakaponga, near Matata, on Tuesday, turning the race action into a gamble.
The 20-year-old Groombridge (Action Suzuki RM-Z250) rode consistently to finish 2-8-2 in his three races, enough to win the class by three points from Tauranga’s Peter Broxholme.
“It was just a matter of staying on and circulating to collect good points,” said Groombridge.
“There was no point in going balls-out in these conditions. It was so treacherous … riders didn’t know what ruts were hiding under the mud.”
Meanwhile, Rotorua’s Michael Phillips won the MX1 class ahead of fellow Kiwi internationals Justin McDonald, from Christchurch, Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper and former Grand Prix star Josh Coppins, of Motueka.
Local favourite Cooper (Power Balance Suzuki RM-Z450) was a consistent performer but a fifth placing in the first MX1 race of the day ultimately proved costly. He redeemed himself by finishing second in the next two races but it wasn’t enough to overturn Phillips.
“In the end of it all I was just riding for the fun of it,” said Cooper. “There was no room for aggressive riding. My main goal was just to stay on the bike.”
Meanwhile, there were a string of outstanding performances too on the first day of action at the Whakatane Summercross on Monday, with several riders dominating their classes in spectacular style.
Atiamuri’s Dion Picard (Darryl August Motorcycles Suzuki) was the ironman of the event, racing nine times in three separate classes and finishing on the podium in two of them.
Picard was outstanding in his two junior classes on Monday, winning the 12-15 years’ 125cc class as well as finishing runner-up to Rangiora’s Isaiah McGoldrick in the 12-17 years’ 250cc class. He also raced on Tuesday, in the Youth MX class, finishing a creditable fourth overall, just three points shy of placing on another podium.
Kaukapakapa’s Josh Jack ( Suzuki) scored a hat-trick of wins in the 16-17 years’ 125cc class, in one race powering through the pack after a bad start, in a thrilling ride that had the crowd on their feet.
Jack also raced in the Youth MX class on Tuesday, the stark change of conditions causing him all sorts of problems, but he still managed to finish sixth overall.

Source: Suzuki NZ