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A marathon, not a sprint.
That is the best analogy to keep in mind when understanding cross-country motorcycling.
The sport will be in the South this weekend, the final stop of its national series. In cross-country races, competitors ride for three hours.
The rider who goes the furthest wins.
Courses can be anywhere between 15km and 40km, depending on the event, Motorcycling New Zealand cross-country commissioner Chris Smyth said about 70 riders would compete in the senior event at Lee Flat Rd, Lee Stream.
There would also be a junior event, in which riders would compete for 90 minutes.
He used the analogy of cross-country being a marathon, rather than motocross which was more of a sprint.
Riders had a pit crew and would come in to refuel, get drinks and fresh goggles several times during the race.The bikes were slightly different, too, making them more suited to long-distance event.
"They generally have a larger fuel tank and a wider ratio gear box for different types of terrain," Smyth said.
"Some parts of the track might be quite tight and slow where they need low gears.
"Other parts might be quite open and fast where they need high speed.
"So generally compared to a motocross bike the transmissions have got more gears and the bike carries more fuel and some softer suspension."
Taupo’s Brad Groombridge enters this weekend’s event as the favourite for the national title.
He will have tough competition, however, from fellow Taupo rider Nathan Tesselaar.
The junior race will start about 9.45am, and the senior race is scheduled for as close to noon as possible.