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Archer slam-dunks the men and the boys

Te Awamutu's Rachael Archer (Husqvarna TE150), almost unbeatable in the under-200cc class this season. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

She's been threatening to beat up the boys for years, but now it's official ... Te Awamutu's Rachael Archer is the national cross-country champion in the under-200cc two-stroke class.

The 16-year-old took her Husqvarna TE150 to wrap up the New Zealand title at the fourth and final round of the 2018 series near Mosgiel on Saturday.

It was probably little more than a formality that she won, as it turned out, because she already had a firm grip on the title thanks to her sensational results at the earlier rounds.

With a 1-1-4- score-card after three rounds, she headed to Mosgiel knowing that a top-two result was all that was required for her to fend off nearest rival Mark Fuller in the three-hour senior race.

"My fourth-place finish at (round three at) Taupo was because I had been riding my new Husqvarna FC250 four-stroke bike and it sort of confused me a bit when I jumped back on the 150 two-stroke for the cross-country nationals," she explained.

"I was in about last place after the start at Taupo and had to pass a lot of riders that day."

Taupiri man Fuller had scored 2-2-2 results at the previous three rounds, but, because only three of the four rounds were to be counted, with riders to discard their one worst result, Archer knew she couldn't afford to let Fuller sneak a win at Saturday's finale.

Archer need not have worried because she comfortably won her class on Saturday, finishing 11th overall (battling with the 300cc and 450cc men) and crossing the finish line well ahead of Fuller.

Fuller finished 17th overall, though still good for second place in the under-200cc class on Saturday and also for the series.

"I wanted to win on Saturday and knew that, if I could get out ahead of Mark (Fuller) at the start, I would win," said Archer, a year 12 pupil at St Peter's in Cambridge.

While Archer won the under-200cc two-stroke title, becoming the first female to win an all-gender class, it was a double celebration for her family.

Archer's father, Kevin, won the over-45 years' Super Veterans' title.

The 50-year-old Kevin Archer finished eighth overall on Saturday, just three places ahead of his daughter.

"I haven't beaten dad at a national event yet, but I'm getting closer all the time," Rachael laughed.

Taupo's Brad Groombridge finished runner-up to Queenstown's Scott Columb on Saturday, enough for Groombridge to clinch the senior title for 2018.

Meanwhile, it was also a successful weekend for the Husqvarna brand in the junior ranks, where Eltham's Adam Loveridge bounced back from a disappointing day at Taupo last month to clinch the crown with victory in Mosgiel's 90-minute junior race.

With a 2-1-7 score-card from the earlier rounds, Loveridge started the day second in the championship standings, behind Napier's Bryn Codd.

But Loveridge powered his Husqvarna TC125 to victory at Mosgiel, finishing a solid 75 seconds ahead of the runner-up rider, Cambridge's Callum Paterson, and therefore he sealed the title win.

Raglan's Coby Rooks finished third on Saturday, with Codd forced to settle for fourth overall.


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