From Rivals To Team-Mates In A Short Space Of Time

Published: Wed 5 Jun 2024 05:32 PM
Photo: Andy McGechan
JUNE 5, 2024: Oparau’s James Scott and Taupo’s Brad Groombridge will switch roles from motorcycle racing rivals to international team-mates in just a few weeks’ time.
The equally-talented pair have been going hard out on the domestic scene these past couple of months, each of them fiercely seeking glory in the five-round 2024 Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships.
However, when October rolls around, these riders, along with the rest of the Team New Zealand contingent, will be sharing resources and pooling their knowledge as they chase international kudos at the big annual International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in Spain.
The other Kiwi riders to join Scott and Groombridge in Spain will be Christchurch’s Hamish Macdonald, Howick’s Liam Draper, Tapanui’s Kylie Dorr, Opunake’s Taylar Rampton and Te Awamutu’s Rachael Archer, with Whangarei’s Rochelle Edwards picked as reserve rider for the women’s grade at the ISDE.
A three-rider junior squad is still yet to be announced and that will happen next week.
Scott and Groombridge have so far shared outright wins in the first three of five rounds in the 2024 Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships and round four is set for the Wairarapa region this coming weekend.
Riders will begin this weekend’s two-day (June 8-9) round four event at Ruakokoputuna Hall, near Martinborough, with tricky farmland terrain sure to keep them on their toes.
“This will be a huge contrast from the technical terrain that the riders faced at round three in Wellington. Martinborough is mostly fast and flowing and similar terrain to what they will also face at the final round in November,” said Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Justin Stevenson.
While Scott and Groombridge top the standings after round three, held in the Akatarawa Forest, near Judgeford, just north of Wellington, over King’s Birthday Weekend.
Riders such as Nelson’s Bailey Basalaj, Taupo’s Wil Yeoman, New Plymouth’s Josh Houghton and Paeroa’s Ashton Whyte, to name a few, managed to keep the leaders honest at Wellington and they will fancy their chances of springing a surprise in Martinborough this coming weekend.
The leaders in the various AA grade (expert level) bike classes after three rounds are Basalaj (E1, 0-200cc two-stroke and 0-300cc four-stroke class); Groombridge (E2, 201cc-to-open two-stroke class); Scott (E3, 301cc-to-open four-stroke class and Rangiora’s Kelly Paterson (Veterans’ over-40 years class).
The leading rider in the A grade (intermediate level) after round three is Christchurch’s Grant Oliver, with Queenstown’s Hayden Lockhart and Paeroa’s Mark Whyte rounding out the top three.
The fifth and final round of the domestic series is scheduled to be staged after the riders return from Spain, a one-day competition that is set for Bideford, near Masterton, on November 2.
In addition to Yamaha-Motor New Zealand, the 2024 NZ Enduro Championships are supported by Macaulay Metals, Best Build Construction, Silver-bullet and Kiwi Rider magazine.
2024 Yamaha NZ Enduro Champs calendar:
Round 1: April 20-21, 1045 Reece’s Road, Omihi, near Christchurch.
Round 2: April 27-28, 981 Whitecliffs Road, Coalgate, Canterbury.
Round 3: June 1-2, Porirua (signposted from SH 58, Haywards Hill Road) Moonshine Valley Road, Wellington.
Round 4: June 8-9, Ruakokoputuna Hall, near Martinborough.
Round 5: November 2, Bideford, near Masterton.
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

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