Suzuki NZCCC is Go:

Posted: Fri 05 Mar 2004

MNZ - Press Release:


The Action Starts In Both Islands On Sunday

Graeme Allan will be David taking on the Goliaths when the 2004 Suzuki New Zealand cross-country motorcycle championships begin on Sunday in both Islands.

The experienced Christchurch rider won the premier class, open four-stroke, last year but this season he will be contesting the under 300cc four-stroke class on a Kawasaki.
Allan admitted he would miss the power of the Yamaha YZF450 he rode last year, but said he would still be aiming for outright victory as well as winning his class.
\"I\'m looking on it as a bit of a challenge,\" he said. \"The smaller bike is lighter so it\'s good under brakes and very maneuverable. It\'ll be easier to ride over three hours too.\"

Allan, 38, was a double New Zealand motocross champion in the late 1980s and also raced motocross in Australia. He took up cross-country -- three-hour races through farmland and forests, over courses 20-30km long -- in the late 1990s, put in a serious effort last year, and won the title. His opposition will include his Christchurch mate Dean Baird, who is defending his open two-stroke title on a Kawasaki.

Their season begins at Nelson, while North Island riders start in Hawke\'s Bay. Both tracks are rolling farmland, quite steep in places.

After three rounds in each island, for resident riders, two all-in finals will be held, in Central Hawke\'s Bay on May 9 and Christchurch on May 23.

The championships are run in five classes: open four-stroke, under 300cc four-stroke, open two-stroke, under 200cc two-stroke, and veterans. There is also a team’s series.

This year\'s championships begin without several of the star riders.
Suzuki is missing three of its leading riders, all from the Waikato: Kevin Archer has a broken leg, Sean Clarke has been suffering a virus, and Mark Penny is having an operation on his wrist. Ryan Currie is taking a year off, and fellow Christchurch rider Grant Oliver is missing the first round.

However the under 200cc two-stroke champion, Kevin Hermansen of Norsewood, will be racing at the Hawke\'s Bay meeting on a Kawasaki and so will under 200cc two-stroke champion Steven Bird of Palmerston North on a Yamaha.

The absence of some of the big guns will give the up-and-coming riders the chance to make their mark in the sport.