Team Suzuki Press Office – May 13.
Suzuki New Zealand’s multi-talented all-rounder Brad Groombridge, like all motorcycle racers, is hungry to get back on track with his Suzuki RM-Z450 once the lockdown from the crisis is eased, so we caught up with the 29-year-old locksmith from Taupo to talk about some of his racing achievements.
A motorcycle rider as skilled as Groombridge from the Bay of Plenty can be a hard man to slow down, pin down and categorise, unless the category is ‘multi-talented motorcycling magician.’
He has done it all over the past few seasons, winning races and national titles in a variety of different racing categories and in varied circumstances too, mostly campaigning his favoured Kea Trailers-sponsored Suzuki RM-Z450 model dirt bike.
He even dabbled with Superbike road-racing during the 2018-2019 season, taking a Suzuki GSX-R1000 to score impressive results although he has since re-focussed to concentrate solely on the New Zealand dirt bike scene.
Groombridge was one of just two individuals to tackle more than one class at the 2020 New Zealand Motocross Championships that wrapped up in March and it didn’t seem to fatigue him at all. Despite being entered in twice as many races as any other rider in the premier MX1 class, Groombridge still managed a top-six result at the end of the four-round series.
Perhaps a glutton for punishment or simply a dirt-biking workaholic, he also raced his Suzuki RM-Z250 in the MX2 (250cc) class this year, settling for 10th overall in what was arguably the toughest MX2 championship class in many years.
Groombridge was also twice the New Zealand Enduro Champion, in 2016 and again in 2018, plus he also won the New Zealand Cross-country Championships three-times consecutively (in 2016, 2017 and 2018), so he is obviously a versatile and multi-talented rider with remarkable credentials.
But this says a great deal about his bikes too: Groombridge raced the same RM-Z450 in the enduro and cross-country events that he used in the motocross nationals, the only alteration being to fit a larger fuel tank or change the tyres.
With such a vast skill-set and tons of national glory to go with that, Groombridge has plenty of reason to feel proud and satisfied. So you can imagine how hard it must have been for him to answer the question: ‘What one race was your best ever?’
“I guess my most notable achievements would have to be my cross-country and enduro championship title wins, along with my Acerbis Four-Hour (endurance dirt bike race) wins as a solo rider,” he says.
He won this race outright a record five times, four of those victories coming as a solo (ironman) rider. His first Acerbis outright win was in 2010, on that occasion riding as part of a two-man team, sharing the riding duties with former National Motocross Champion Daryl Hurley.
Then he created history when he won the Acerbis marathon in 2013, becoming the first man to win it as an ironman. Groombridge won again as a solo rider a year later, in 2014. He finished fifth overall in 2015, although that was still good enough for him to again take the ironman (solo rider) class trophy. He was back on top in 2016, winning the Acerbis outright and again as a solo rider.
Said Groombridge: “But in terms of my Acerbis race win, that stands out the most; it would probably be the most gruelling one, in 2017. Me and Paul Whibley went back and forth in the lead the whole race. It was raining and this caused major vision issues for me.
“I ended up riding without goggles. It was tough trying to work out a spot where I could pass Paul without getting filled in by the dirt roost from his rear tyre, but I managed to make that happen. I was eventually able to make the pass for the lead with just over a lap to go. That was definitely a stand-out race for me.
“I also believe that the 2010 Motocross of Nations event in Denver, Colorado, would have to be another memorable one for me, not because I got any great results, but just to be there and experience the atmosphere that comes with this annual international event, widely regarded as the Olympic Games of motocross.
“The qualifying race on the Saturday, when I holeshot it and led, was remarkable for me. To holeshot and lead, even if only for a short time; to achieve that in that kind of atmosphere was something special.
“There are probably many races I could have chosen to answer this question, but this race was definitely a standout worth mentioning,” he added.
When the current crisis lockdown is lifted, it’s a certain bet that Groombridge will be out and about on his 450cc four-stroke Suzuki, hunting down more glory at national championship level.