Brad Groombridge has wrapped-up the New Zealand Cross-Country Championship with a runner-up finish behind Scott Columb but is looking overseas for new challenges. 

 

After wrapping up his third consecutive NZ title aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450, 27-year-old Taupo locksmith Groombridge is looking abroad for some "bigger fish to fry." 

“I'm making plans now to contest the Grand National Cross-Country Championships (GNCC) in the United States next year and it's a possibility.” Said Groombridge. 

“I'm hoping to go over and 'dip my toes in the water' at the final three rounds of the series this year, just to see how I go against riders of that calibre. 

"I might be able to arrange to do a few desert races too, perhaps the Finke Desert Race in Australia. Plans are in progress for me to do that." Added the Taupo man. 

Groombridge raced his 450cc Suzuki to win the New Zealand Enduro Championships in his first serious attempt at the title in 2016 and won his first national cross-country crown that year, backing that up by defending his Cross-Country title in 2017. 

 

new zealand brad groombridge Suzuki 2018 Enduro21

 

He had arrived at Saturday's venue for the fourth and final round of the 2018 New Zealand Cross Country Championship series as the clear favourite, his 1-1-9 score-card from the earlier three rounds giving him a mathematical advantage over his nearest rival, fellow Taupo man Nathan Tesselaar (4-3-1).

Groombridge finished runner-up on Saturday, behind Queenstown's former national motocross champion Scott Columb,  but it was easily enough for Groombridge to celebrate overall victory. 

Saturday's result not only gave Groombridge his third consecutive national cross-country title, but it meant he collected the over-300cc four-stroke class title as well.

"I should have gone toe-to-toe with Scotty (Columb) and we passed each other for the lead a few times, but I let him go in the end. I didn't need to race with him. He wasn't in contention for the title and not a threat to me. It was more important for me to concentrate on winning the championship.

"Now I've matched Paul Wilson and Adam Reeves in winning three national cross-country titles and, if I'm not instead overseas racing in the GNCC, then I'll go for title No.4 next year and hopefully match Adrian Smith in winning four titles." 

 

 new zealand brad groombridge Suzuki Enduro21

 

In the meantime, Groombridge will switch back to enduro mode to continue his national enduro championships campaign. 

After two of two of five rounds in that parallel-and-similar series, Groombridge is running second overall, behind Tom Buxton.

Buxton has indicated he is likely to skip the remaining rounds of the enduro nationals and that means, if Groombridge can maintain his momentum, he could be in line for a second national dirt-biking title this season.

The next round of the enduro nationals is set for Maruia, near Nelson, on May 26.

Words and photo Credit: Andy McGechan/bikesportnz.com