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Plenty still at stake in cross-country nationals

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand has a new cross-country champion, but there's still plenty at stake with the final round coming up in six weeks' time.

Raglan dirt bike ace Jason Dickey made it three wins from three starts as he raced to victory at the third round of four in the 2019 New Zealand Cross Country Championships in Marlborough on Sunday, but the fight remains to see who will else will join him on the series' podium.

Only three of the rounds are counted, as riders discard their one worst result, so Dickey's 1-1-1 score-card thus far means the chase for the coveted senior title is over for 2019.

Dickey won the three-hour senior race at round one near Norsewood in February and round two near Mosgiel in March and so he was clearly the favourite to win again in Marlborough on Sunday.

He didn't disappoint, although it was no easy thing for the 24-year-old dairy farmer after he became tangled with other riders and started Sunday's race a long way behind the leading bunch.

He eventually fought through the traffic and took the lead near the end of the first lap, consolidated his position out front and simply held on for the win.

Runner-up on Sunday was fellow Raglan rider Brandon Given, with Taupo's Nathan Tesselaar, Whanganui's Seth Reardon and Eketahuna's Charlie Richardson completing the top five.

In terms of the championship standings, Given and Reardon currently share second spot and that battle will go down to the wire at the final round near Taupo on May 25.

Glen Murray's Sam Brown, Richardson, Pukekawa's Jim Orton and Tesselaar are mathematically all capable of finishing in second place, although their might have to be a few non-finish results from the top three riders for that to happen.

It is far less cut and dried in the junior ranks.

These under-17 age riders had their 90-minute race earlier in the day and it was Raglan's Coby Rooks who celebrated another vital win.

Rooks and Eltham's defending national junior champion Adam Loveridge have shared the wins this year - Rooks the junior race winner at Norsewood, while Loveridge won at Mosgiel - and Rooks is on top of the championship standings, albeit with only a slim five-point advantage.

Taupo's Wil Yeoman finished third on Sunday, also third in the series points after three rounds, and he is within strike range of the top spot if he can turn home town advantage into points at Taupo's final round.

Motorcycling New Zealand cross country commissioner Chris Smyth said the course on Sunday was "brutal".

"It was very demanding, with lots of rocks to keep the riders on their toes. There were a few flat tyres and a few bent wheel rims too, but no dust to cause any visibility problems. It all went really well and I think everyone enjoyed the racing.

"The racing in the juniors was particularly close, with the leading riders never far apart. The final round will be very exciting."

The series is supported by The Dirt Guide, Oakley goggles, Bel Ray oils and Michelin tyres.

NZ Cross Country Championships calendar 2019:

Round One: Sunday, February 10 - Central Hawke's Bay MCC

Round Two: Sunday, March 24 - Mosgiel District MCC

Round Three: Sunday, April 14 - Marlborough MCC

Round Four: Saturday May 25 - Taupo MCC

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

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