KIWI RIDER MAGAZINE Kiwi Rider June 2017 - Page 68

New Zealand dirt bike racers have long been among the world’s elite and Te Awamutu’s Rachael Archer was thrilled that she was able to enhance that belief when she raced in the United States earlier this year. T here are some who believe now, after her first stint of racing the Grand National Cross-country Championships (GNCC) series in March, that it’s highly likely Rachael Archer will be a champion there in the very near future. Armed with a Husqvarna TC125 motorcycle, fitted with an over- sized fuel tank, Archer was impressive at both the two GNCC events she tackled. There for a “dip the toes into the water” experience ahead of what may be a more comprehensive American campaign next season, Archer lined up to race at rounds one and two of the world- renowned GNCC competition. The first round was at Union, in South Carolina, on March 5, and that proved to be a real eye-opener for the 15-year-old Kiwi girl, the 2016 New Zealand junior women’s enduro champion. “What a race! Holy ... there were 697 riders in my race and it was chaos,” she said. “There were bikes everywhere I was lapping about 200 people every lap. My class started on the front row and I was second into the first corner and grabbed the lead shortly after. By the third lap I was sitting comfortably in fifth. “However, on the last lap there was a creek crossing and it was spewing with riders everywhere, so I tried to go up a bank and fell off, costing me two positions. I finished the race seventh in the women’s pro grade.” Archer’s next ride was just a week later, at round two of the GNCC series at Palatka, in Florida. “I had an awesome race in Florida, sitting in second place for half the race, until I had to pit, where I lost two places and ended my race in fourth. Words & photos: Andy McGechan/ I hope to go back next year and get on the podium “I was still stoked with this, especially considering the other girls are all professionals. The track was very fine sand and the whoops were over a metre high everywhere. “My whole time here has been an amazing experience and I hope to go back next year and get on the podium.” That concluded her abbreviated campaign and she now returns to her Waikato home, no doubt to test her new-found skills on the domestic scene. Her international trip certainly had people sitting up and taking notice in the US, so much so that both the Kiwi Rider and BikesportNZ. com offices in New Zealand received requests for photos and more information about the 15-year-old soon after she’d left to return home. Rachael’s achievements in the US have definitely set her up for a return to American competition next year, or perhaps the year after that. “This trip was just to see how I’d go. I’d have to take nine months off school to do the whole series and that may have to wait until I’m