Dirt bikes, forest tracks and just enough twists, turns, bumps and logs to make it interesting …. that’s the second annual Husqvarna Hard X in just five weeks’ time.
The Husqvarna Hard X on March 30 could be New Zealand’s ultimate of extreme cross-country races, but don’t be frightened off by the event’s daunting title, because, although it could indeed push riders to their limit, it should still appeal to individuals of all skill levels.
The Husqvarna Hard X event in the Kinleith Forest, near Atiamuri, is a four-hour cross-country race that will “feature all the great trails and hard bits of a Husqvarna Hard Adventure Enduro, but on a compact course, with hard sections deemed suitable for the grade that the rider enters”.
Organiser Sean Clarke said the event, which will run from 11am until about 3pm, would have mass appeal.
“This is the second time we have held a Hard X event,” said Clarke, who has also previously run the difficult Husqvarna Hard Adventure Enduro Events in the same area of the country, about 30
Riders classify themselves as either Gold, Silver or Bronze grade competitors and the course they’ll face will hopefully reflect that level of proficiency.
“Everyone is probably thinking it’s going to be a psycho-hard event, but it’s not,” said Clarke.
Clarke said the Bronze class would be about the same level as a hard section at a trail ride, with the Silver and Gold class courses will be just a little bit harder than that.
One of the elite Gold level riders will be Wainuiomata’s Jake Whitaker, a record eight-time national moto trials champion, and it will be his fine balance attributes and his skill with precise throttle control from that parallel motorcycling code that may give him the unbeatable edge, although he missed out on the main prize at the inaugural event last season.
The outright winner last year was Helensville’s Tom Buxton and this is one rider in particular who Whitaker will most be keeping a close eye on this time around too.
“Last year I finished second after leading half to three-quarters of the race,” recalls the 27-year-old father-of-one. “It was a technical course, but perhaps not as hard as I would have liked it. I think Tommy (Buxton) would be
The following day, the Husqvarna Hard X Trail Ride will be held at the same venue (on March 31) and this is more of a social ride. For this follow-up event, parents are invited to ride with their children, as long as they accompany them the entire time.
The venue for these two events will be signposted on State Highway 1, 30 kilometres south of Tokoroa.
The Husqvarna Hard X Hard Enduro and Husqvarna Hard X Trail Ride events are supported by Husqvarna New Zealand, Satco NZ Ltd, Michelin Tyres, Kiwi Rider magazine and Forest Trail Events.
Words and Photo by Andy McGechan