Tuesday, April 24


Tauranga’s Reece Burgess
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

A new season of cross-country racing is set to kick off and this time expanded to cater for even more riders.

As well as a two-hour race for the country’s senior elite, two new classes have been added for this season’s fifth annual running of the Dirt Guide Cross Country Series, which kicks off this weekend (April 28-29) at Tar Hill, just south of Tokoroa, increasing the opportunity for involvement by and the development of the country’s younger riders.

The new classes are for children aged between six and 10 years and they will use a separate track from the juniors – the two classes will be 6-10 years motocross and 6-10 years trail bikes.

“These classes will race at the same time as the junior race and be 75 minutes duration,” said organiser Sean Clarke, of Tokoroa.

“This is the fifth time I have run the series and each time it is getting bigger and bigger,” said Clarke, a former International Six Days Enduro medal winner and multi-time former national enduro champion.

He said there were classes to cater for all ages and abilities with the senior grade split in to two sections, for intermediate and expert riders. There are separate categories also for women and veteran riders.

The race for top senior honours in last season’s Dirt Guide Cross Country Series was tight with three national class riders – Auckland’s Callan May, Napier’s John O’Dea and Tauranga’s Reece Burgess – separated by just three points at the start of the final round and close racing is expected again this season.

The Kiwi Rider magazine-sponsored series has been a real hit with the country’s off-road bike riders, with competitor numbers growing with each outing and this weekend’s event is no exception.

In addition to attracting full fields, the talent runs deep with many current or former national champions typically among those entered.

The junior race starts at 9.30am and the two-hour senior race starts at 12.30pm. The minis’ course will be about three kilometres, in the forest, and the junior track is 10 kilometres long, while the senior course is about 20 kilometres around.

The cross-country series is run parallel with but separate to the Dirt Guide Trail Ride Series, with that phase of the weekend’s action set for the same venue following day.

Sunday’s trail ride features a 30-kilometre main loop or a 10-kilometre short loop option.

CALENDAR (trail ride on day two in each case): 
 Round one, Tar Hill, Tokoroa, April 28-29.
 Round two, The Pylons, Atiamuri, May 19-20.
 Round three, Whakamaru, June 30-July 1.
For any other information, call Sean Clarke on 0275 996 045