Bikesport NZ report by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
Inspired by the exploits of fellow Pahiatua man Paul Whibley, young rising star Scott Sowry is about to launch his own bid to become a motorcycle cross-country champion in the United States.
With the support of his parents Stu and Cindy Sowry, from Mangamaire, near Pahiatua, the 16-year-old Sowry will shortly head to the east coast of the US to Asheville, North Carolina, about 40 minutes north of Whibley’s base at a place called Traveller’s Rest.
He will borrow a Yamaha YZ125 practice bike from Whibley and campaign the final three rounds of this year’s Grand National Cross-country Championships (GNCC), starting with the 10th round of 13 at Unadilla, New York, on September 16.
Sowry will be racing in the 200A class, on the track at the same time as the big bike riders, but points are scored separately and he will probably have to start from the fifth or sixth row on the start line.
“That means he could be choking on a bit of dust for a while,” said his father, Stu.
The second GNCC event that he will contest is round 11 in St. Clairsville, Ohio, on October 7.
There will be several Kiwis in that race with just-crowned New Zealand cross-country and enduro double champion Adrian Smith (Yamaha), of Mokau, arriving just the week before this event.
Wellington’s Rory Mead, who won the New Zealand Enduro Championships for Yamaha last season before heading to the US, will also line up at the final few rounds of the GNCC series.
In between these GNCC races, Sowry will be racing a couple of local cross country events such as a round of the Mid-East XC Championships.
The teenager, a year 12 student at Tararua College, has already tasted international success on the motorcycle cross-country scene, having won the under-200cc class at the Australian Off-Road Championships last year and also winning the junior under-200cc title at the New Zealand Cross-country Championships earlier this year.
“But now he’s heading off to play with the really big boys,” said Stu Sowry.
“His racing has been going from strength to strength and now we figured it was time to see how he’d go at the top level.
“Paul (Whibley) suggested he come over and join him, to get a taste of the sport in the US. He may return and do a few more races next season, with a view to perhaps mounting a full season campaign in 2014.
“Obviously Scott wants to do well but he’s not expecting too much. He just wants to turn a few heads and hopefully get a ride sorted for 2014.”
Sowry returns to New Zealand on October 9.
Meanwhile, his mentor Whibley rides a more powerful Yamaha YZ450F and currently leads the top class in the GNCC series, the XC1 Pro grade.