TWO-MINUTE WINNING MARGIN FOR RACHEL ARCHER IN THIRD ROUND OF JUNIOR CROSS-COUNTRY
Watch out world, here comes Te Awamutu’s Rachael Archer and she means business.
The 14-year-old Archer led a Husqvarna 1-2 to the top of the 125cc/250cc junior-grade podium, humbling the young men at the third round of six in this season’s NZXC Cross-country Series at Taikorea, near Palmerston North. Beginning her build-up for an international campaign early next year Archer was a convincingly winner of the gruelling 80-minute cross-country race, which elevated her to the top of the NZXC series standings.
Taikorea runner-up fellow Husqvarna TE125 rider Nick Wightman, also moved up the series rankings.
Waimauku’s Wightman is up to second in the championship standings, with the series at the halfway stage, although riders may count only five of the six rounds. And that means another Te Awamutu rider, Daniel White (Kawasaki KX250F), will also be a contender for the NZXC crown when the series wraps up near Pahiatua on December 3.
White was a no-show at Taikorea and so that event will obviously be the “result” he discards.
But all of this is academic, with Archer’s focus on her first major international campaign coming up at the start of next year.
“I’m heading to the United States in March to race in two rounds of the Grand National Cross-country Championships (GNCC), competing in the women’s grade,” said the year-10 pupil at St Peter’s, Cambridge.
“There are 12 rounds in the GNCC, but I will race just two rounds, in Florida and Georgia, just to see how I’d go. I’d have to take nine months off school to do the whole series and that may have to wait,” she said.
If Archer’s “dipping toes into the water“of the GNCC scene turns out to be a success, a full campaign in the future is on the cards. If anything, her stunning win at Taikorea probably proved she’s starting to outgrow the domestic scene.
“This was my first time racing at Taikorea, although I’d done some training here with (former New Zealand and two-time former US GNCC cross-country champion Paul Whibley) a few weeks ago.”
Archer’s eventual winning margin was just over two minutes over Wightman, with Gisborne’s Troy Andrews (Yamaha YZ125) finishing third, more than six minutes further back.
Fourth was Foxton’s Locky McKeah, followed by Napier’s Bryn Codd and Oparau’s William Hakiwai-Maikuku.
Cambridge’s Zara Gray (Husqvarna TE125) finished eighth overall and won the junior women’s grade.
The mini-grade riders were sent out on to the main track with the juniors and the finishing order was Taupo brothers Will Yeoman and Josh Yeoman, first and second respectively, followed in third by Masterton’s Johnny Falloon.
The two-hour senior race was then the turn for Aucklander Callan May to impress. With two wins from three starts, the 24-year-old Titirangi electrician has put himself back in the driver’s seat for another senior cross-country trophy win.
The Yamaha YZ250FX rider was a comfortable winner at the opening round of six in the NZXC series near Tokoroa in June, but tyre problems forced him out of round two in the Woodhill Forest last month. However, he bounced back in the Manawatu and, with a convincing showing at Taikorea, it means he is on track for the overall win.
If May tosses out his worst result, it means he now has a perfect 1-1 score-card to count on, his Woodhill disaster the obvious result for him to drop.
His main rival, fellow Aucklander Sam Greenslade (KTM 250 SC-F) was runner-up at Taikorea and his scoreline for the series so far is 2-3-2, effectively giving him a best score of 2-2 if his third placing at Woodhill is discarded.
The finishing order at Taikorea was May, followed by Greenslade, with Palmerston North’s Adam Reeves (Suzuki RM-Z450) completing the podium.
The next round of the NZXC series is in Matata on October 15.