Motocross: Burgess dashes to Ironman success

By Andy McGechan


One bike, one man, six hours - that's an awful lot to ask for.

But that was exactly the plan for Tauranga's Reece Burgess (Husaberg FE450), who not only won the Ironman section of the big Six-Hour Dirt Bike Challenge on Saturday, but also threatened early on to steal away with the marathon event outright.

Te Awamutu's Mark Penny and Queenstown's Scotty Columb combined on a 450cc bike to eventually win the race, but they had a fight on their hands as Burgess led the way throughout the opening few laps, forcing an incredible pace.

Burgess had the lead soon after the shotgun blast sounded to signal the start, just after 9am on Saturday morning, and he quickly set a blistering pace on the undulating course, set out on forestry land midway between Taupo and Tokoroa.

"For the first couple of laps I had a bit of fun learning the course but I went hard while I knew I could.

"I rode conservatively after that to save energy. I knew I could afford to do that because I'd built up a gap on most of the field,"said the 33-year-old Burgess.

"I had figured on doing eight laps, but it was nine for me in the end. I just settled into a routine and cruised at the finish."

Burgess eventually settled for fourth overall, easily good enough for him to win the Ironman class title, ahead of Taupo's Brad Groombridge, who came home seventh overall.

Race co-winner Columb, a motocross professional, praised Burgess afterwards.

"I want to give credit to Reece Burgess. He was racing it as an Ironman and he led for quite a while. He's definitely going to have 'monkey butt' this week."

Only five teams or individuals completed nine laps in the six hours, with some combinations managing just three or four of the 32km laps.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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