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Chris Birch X Games Project 1

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By Robert Lynn on 2 July 2013 in Enduro

Chris Birch is setting his sights on X Games Los Angeles as he returns to serious action in Romania.

Returning to his homeland in New Zealand at the end of 2012, Birch also became a father to baby Zoe. Opting to cut back on overseas racing trips to spend more time at home with his family, Birch has been enjoying his new-found fatherhood.

“This year I stepped away from the Hard Enduro scene,” confirmed Chris. “Towards the end of last year I moved back to New Zealand to start a family. It’s been such a change having Zoe but it’s been amazing.”

It was fun racing at home again

However, he didn’t fully hang up his boots and instead contested the New Zealand Enduro Championship – and duly won.

“It was a lot of fun racing at home again. The racing is completely different to South Africa so it took some time to adapt. It’s a full on time card race with special tests so I worked hard over the winter to be ready. I was on the pace immediately, won the first round and have since won the championship. I never expected to be champion of New Zealand again.”

But as is usually the case with Birch, the Kiwi was always on the look out for a challenge. And the endurocross project was it.

Click here for  Chris Birch: The Road to X Games © Jonty Edmunds

“I want to see if it’s possible for a rookie endurocross rider to actually qualify for X Games. It’s a tough challenge but one I’m taking seriously.

"At home I built an endurocross track to train on – it’s based on last year’s X Games track. I also went to race a round of the AMA EnduroCross Championship in the US. I got smoked but still learned a lot.”

Romaniacs is one of the highlights of my season

Despite focusing on endurocross racing, the Red Bull Romaniacs was still an event not to be missed. As a former champion of the toughest and longest Hard Enduro race on the calendar, Birch is aiming to end his week on the podium before getting back to endurocross.

“I love the Red Bull Romaniacs – it’s one of the highlights of my season. The level of competition is extremely high this year so it’s going to be a hard race. There’s a lot of luck involved in the race and you need to rely on your own instincts. I think the secret is to stick with a pace that you feel comfortable.

“With so many other good riders here it’s taken the pressure off me to win. But I’m still aiming for a podium. Last year was a disaster – I broke my foot on the very first day – but I still managed to finish. I feel fit, healthy and have done plenty of riding. I’m looking for a top three result.”

 
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