There is nothing like using a cross country to get a few hours of bike time at race pace, so some cross country events were the perfect way to get back into the scene.
Scott Birch and I partnered up for my favourite offroad event of the year. I say that having only raced this event once before, but instantly fell in love with the bulldozed volcanic soil that forms into endless berms as it weaves between the pine trees.
Despite riding the smaller 250cc CRF, we agreed that I should do the first lap. Having the Rekluse clutch made it possible for me to start with the bike and gear and go, helping me to quickly get up to second place after the shotgun blast.
Unfortunately it took me too long to get used to reading the track while paying attention to the arrows, crashing three times on that first lap which put us back in fourth place ahead of Adam Reeves and Adrian Smith. This pairing was to prove our major battle for the remainder of the race as we fought to hold them off.
We were swapping riders each 38 minute lap, and things suddenly changed on my third lap. I found my groove while Iron Man rider Simon Laansdale and previous winner Brad Groombridge hit the wall. Suddenly we went from battling for fifth place to running a solid second overall! But there was still plenty of work to be done.
After the race was over, I was pleased to hear Adrian comment that I must have picked up the pace because he was really pushing hard to beat me on our last lap. The sound of his bike certainly was a good motivator, and I was stoked to help Scott beat one of his toughest competitors. Of course my hat goes off to those Ironmen, and especially the team of Hadleigh Knight and Liam Draper who annihilated us all to take the win by over five minutes.