Raglan’s Jason Dickey may now be just one race away from clinching the New Zealand cross-country crown for 2019.
The KTM 350XC-F rider has been unbeaten in the series thus far, making it back-to-back wins on Sunday as Mosgiel hosted the second of four rounds for the championship.
With only three of the four rounds are to be counted, riders to discard their worst result of the four, it means Dickey already perhaps has one hand on the trophy.
A top-three result at the next round of the series, in Marlborough on April 14, means he may not even need to line up at the final round, near Taupo on May 25.
Dickey dominated proceedings at the series opener near Norsewood in February, charging through the field to take victory by nearly a minute ahead of fellow KTM rider Sam Brown, from Glen Murray, but it was an even bigger winning margin for Dickey at the course near Outram on Sunday, Dickey this time crossing the finish line nearly two minutes clear of runner-up rider Seth Reardon, from Whanganui.
Another Raglan rider, Brandon Given, claimed the third podium spot on Sunday, finishing just 15 seconds behind Reardon.
Brown had to settle for a sixth place finish at Mosgiel and he has therefore slipped from second to third in the overall championship standings, albeit just three points adrift of Reardon.
The 90-minute junior race, held earlier in the morning, was won by Eltham’s defending national junior champion Adam Loveridge, with the round one winner from Raglan, Coby Rooks, this time forced to accept second place.
Rooks still tops the junior standings, but now just two points ahead of Loveridge.
Dickey was quick to blast of the start line on Sunday and, although he was amongst the traffic exiting turn one, he was into the lead just 400 metres later.
“I pulled a massive gap and just maintained that until the end,” said the 24-year-old dairy farmer. “I had a couple of big crashes on Sunday, one when I hit a clump of tussock grass and was flung off the bike, but I was far enough in front that I could recover myself and not lose my position. It was quite slippery on the short grass sections and hard to stop the bike. I got tangled in some fence wire on another occasion and lost about 20 seconds getting free, but it was nothing major and again I didn’t lose my lead. After that, I was just trying to stay focused and not make any more mistakes. One good result now at the next round should give me the title,” he smiled. “I just have to keep calm and carry on.”
NZ Cross Country Championships calendar 2019:
Round One: Sunday, February 10 – Central Hawke’s Bay MCC
Round Two: Sunday, March 24 – Mosgiel District MCC
Round Three: Sunday, April 14 – Marlborough MCC
Round Four: Saturday May 25 – Taupo MCC
Words and Photo by Andy McGechan