The more things change, the more things stay the same and that’s got to be a good thing as far at New Zealand’s dirt biking community is concerned.
The popular Dirt Guide Cross-country Series has just undergone a transition, but in name only, with the popular Central North Island competition now to be known as the Forestland Cross-country Series.
The series, originally formed by husband and wife partnership Sean and Adele Clarke in 2008, has grown to become one of the biggest motorcycle cross-country events in New Zealand, with riders travelling from over all over the North Island to attend.
The past two seasons have been blighted by restrictions put in place to help curb the pandemic, but there is now light at the end of that tunnel .
The 2022 edition of the series, will start at Tar (Maungaiti) Hill, revisiting a popular venue south of Tokoroa, on June 18-19, and send riders along many of the same leafy forest pathways they have enjoyed in the past.
The remaining two rounds will be held in forestry land a few minutes drive further south, at Ohakuri.
A new motorcycling organisation, the Forestland Motorcycle Club, has been created primarily to run this series and support similar events or dirt bike activities in the future.
Tokoroa’s Sean Clarke said he was thrilled to be able to again offer riders an experience they have obviously enjoyed so much in recent years, something that appeals to all levels of competency and bike riding abilities, from the elite national championship-winning stars of the sport, right down to the entry-level or novice riders.
“Only a few people ever win races like this, so it’s not really about the winning, but about participation and enjoyment,” said Clarke.
He said there are usually plenty of fresh trails to ride, making the racing safe, fun and challenging at the same time.
Individuals such as Helensville’s Tom Buxton, Manawatu’s Paul Whibley, Cambridge’s Dylan Yearbury, Howick’s Liam Draper and Te Awamutu’s Rachael Archer, for example, all learned their craft racing events such as this before they headed overseas to earn glory internationally.
Whanganui’s Seth Reardon, Taupo pair Hadleigh Knight and Wil Yeoman, Rotorua trio Bradley Lauder, Callum Dudson and Ethan Harris, Wellington’s Jake Whitaker, Oparau’s James Scott, Otorohanga’s Luke Brown, New Plymouth’s Sam Parker and Tokoroa’s Jake Wightman, to name just a few, could be expected to feature in the leading spots when the Forestland Cross-country Series kicks into gear in June.
Riders such as Whangamata’s Ethan Jameson, Rotorua’s Daniel Bates, New Plymouth’s Josh Houghton, Cambridge’s Jared Hannon and Te Awamutu’s Nixon Parkes typically feature near the front of the junior ranks.
The popularity of this competition, which features a 90-minute junior race followed soon afterwards by a two-hour senior race, includes separate trails and several different grades incorporated into the day’s racing, catering for all levels of confidence and ability.