The coveted Dirt Bike Series title will be claimed on Saturday and more than half a dozen riders are in with a shot.

The third and final round of the popular cross-country racing series is being held at Ohakuri, south of Tokoroa, and many of New Zealand's elite riders are expected to be in attendance.

It is the same venue as the first two rounds so there should be no surprises for the athletes and racing should be fast and furious.

The course is designed by Motorcycling New Zealand Hall of Fame inductee Sean Clarke, of Tokoroa, a man renowned for setting courses that are both challenging and enjoyable.


"The course features a bit of everything ... it's supposed to be a challenge but, at the same time, not overwhelming. We want all dirt bike owners to come and have a go at bush riding," Clarke said.

There will be plenty of top-level riders entered with the likes of Rotorua's Bradley Lauder, Wellington's Jake Whitaker, Whitianga's Blake Wilkins, Whanganui's Seth Reardon, Tokoroa's Jake Wightman, Cambridge's Ashton Grey and Tauranga's Reece Burgess among those worth watching out for on the day.

Former Kiwi international Callan May, of Titirangi, won the two-hour senior race in round one in early June, closely followed across the finish line by Reporoa's Hadleigh Knight, just back from racing in Japan, and Manawatu's two-time United States cross-country champion Paul Whibley.

Knight had his revenge at round two three weeks later, winning ahead of Grey and Wilkins.

The racing will be just as intense in the juniors with top riders to watch for on Saturday including Taupō's Wil Yeoman, Oparau's Hunter Scott, Rotorua's Hunter Steens, Putaruru's Jacob Dover and Eketahuna's Luke Brown.

The event being held in the central North Island makes it easily accessible to riders and usually ensures a good-sized entry list, with more than 180 riders showing up to the first round and a similar number expected this Saturday.

The competition has wide appeal, attracting a diverse range of talents, suiting novice riders but also enticing the elite of New Zealand's dirt biking community to turn up in large numbers.

In addition to the expert grade riders, the series also caters for junior, intermediate, veteran and female riders.


The venue at Ohakuri is signposted from Atiamuri on SH1, midway between Tokoroa and Taupō, with the 90-minute junior race set to kick into gear at 9.30am and the two-hour senior race just after noon.

Saturday's race doubles as round two of the parallel-but-separate NZ GNCC cross-country series, that competition piggy-backing on to select major events throughout the North Island.

Whibley won the opening round of the NZ GNCC series, at Woodhill Forest west of Auckland, last month, finishing ahead of Reardon and Wightman that day.

The Dirt Guide Series is sponsored by Michelin, Bel Ray, Renthal, O'Neal, DRC, Zeta, Kiwi Rider magazine, Oakley, TCX boots, Yoshimura and Forest Trail Events.

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