X Country Back for the Future

Cambridge 4 Hour 2016

maddix park mx

The Cambridge Motorcycle Club is limited to 6 events per year on its MX track in Cambridge so, with a committee that includes several cross country riders and their expertise, it was decided to diversify and bring back the  well known Cambridge 4 Hour.   Yes, the event  was very well known 21 years ago  and past winners include NZ cross country legends such as Paul Wilson, Mark Fuller, Stefan Merriman, Mark Davis and Kevin Archer. 

This year, new life was breathed into the event with a Junior 1.5 Hour race in the morning preceding the afternoon's  two-man Senior 4 Hour.  There was no Ironman class.   The cross country was held in the same Waikato area as those of yesteryear, however, on a different farm.

A good turnout of close to 200 riders competed.  "There were lots of good results" says Alan Cushion, one of the organisers. "Liam Draper and Brad Groombridge collected the $1000 prize money for winning senior team overall and the $500 for the winning Senior Ladies team went to Natasha Cairns and Tyla Cushion."

Prize money was awarded from 1st to 3rd in all the senior classes. The top 3 in the Senior 4 Hour were particularly close. The Draper/Groombridge combination finished in 4:03:55, followed by Aaron Jones and Adrian Smith on 4:05:30, just 1 second ahead of Sam Greenslade and Chris Power on 4:05:31 in an exciting finish.

Tauranga's Janelle Walker shared the 3rd spot on the Senior Women's podium with her team-mate Sandra Hannon and collected some prize money.  

"It was a good day but really hot", says Janelle. "The laps were mostly over farmland which did have a bit of dust but there was nice wide variety of terrain with open sections, tight sections, tree roots and rocks. Thoroughly enjoyable".

Paul Callinan and Dave Molloy, also from Tauranga, linked up for a 16th in the Senior Vets.

 "Dave was a bit slow (yeah right says Dave, have you looked at the lap times?) but I saved the day" laughs Paul, "and we were both very grateful to  those who broke down.  Dave had problems getting his bike going in the Le Mans start and was one of the last to leave so when I did my first lap I had the unusual experience of not being passed.It was a different story on my next lap - it was like being on a major highway with bikes zoomig past almost non-stop. Even Dave's son who I had told not to pass me raced past several times ! The young ones were doing the laps 10 minutes quicker than us. Some of the other vets were pretty quick.  One of the faster ones had to fix his tyre so left way after but managed to come round at the same time as me.  It was great though.  I haven't ridden since the GNCC so the ride was a bit bumpy. My suspension definitely needs some adjustment".

"You have to have tail enders to make the others feel good" comments Dave, "and we are the experts in that domain" he adds, also laughing.

"I did find the start a bit daunting but I drew the short straw. Paul made me do it. And a couple of crashes in the first 10 minutes didn't help.  It was super hot and quite draining physically but really enjoyable - afterwards.

However, the most pleasure comes from supporting the progress of Daniel".

Dave's son Daniel Molloy joined forces with Cameron Smythe for a 6th place in the Senior Intermediate Under class.  It was the first time the pair had competed as a team but, with lap times pretty much on a par, they are well matched and their 6th place is encouraging.  There were barely 90 seconds between 4th and 6th place in this class at the end of the 4 hour race.

Full results can be found on the Silver-Bullet site.  

The success of the event means the Cambridge Club are looking certain to schedule another 4 Hour in 2017. There is also talk of a School Crosscountry later in the year.

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