Four Hour news

News 2011

Epic Events Trail News 2011 #4

3 March 2011

Leatt Four Hour 2011 – New date and now open to Juniors

The Leatt Four hour exploded onto the NZ Cross Country scene in 2009 attracting 350 riders to quickly establish itself as the premier off road teams/individuals endurance race in NZ.

Key features of the Leatt Four hour are a fun 24km track including a 3km Moto style grass track, a double loop course that jumps into the pits at half way, pumice soil and a fun party at the Shed bar in Taupo.

The 2009 race was won by the green team of Nick Saunders and Rhys Carter who just beat Ironman Sam Greenslade on his Husky.   In 2010 the event gained a new venue, attracted nearly 400 riders, was won by Suzuki duo Daryl Hurley and Brad Groombridge and had one heck of an after party.

Now the crew at Epic Events are stoking the fire for year 3.  The first big change is the date.  Previously the event was held in August, but now the fun of the four hour is brought forward to Saturday 18 June.  The venue remains the same and will be super firm because the Epic track crew graded the trails in August 2010 which means less bumps, less ruts and firmer berms.

The second major change is in response to all the youngsters who saw their Mums and Dads racing over the last 2 years and now want to be part of the action.  Junior riders will have their own separate 1.5 hour race starting before the big boys and girls.  Exact ages and classes will be finalised soon when the entry form is released, however there will be at least 2 Junior classes with the younger riders starting behind the older kids.

As per 2010, the event will be televised on Bike Rider TV which screens on Sky TV so if you miss the action on the day you can check it all out from the comfort of your own lounge.

The party at the Shed Bar will also be inflated – literally as we plan to have sumo suit wrestling plus the Bull ride comp, washed down by a cold Tui…

So in summary the Leatt Four hour is bigger, earlier, better, brighter, funner and younger than ever… you’d be mad to miss it…

Here are a couple of youtube links to the 2009 and 2010 event.

News 2010 

The first 2 minutes of the Leatt Four hour resembled the most colorful and noisy snake in the world as over 250 motorcycle racers change shape from being 80 metres wide to 15 metres wide and 300 metres long.

Eventually after some argy bargy and 3km of wide track only one rider will enter the first narrow forestry trail to set the pace. That rider in this year’s race was Tarawera 100 runner up Shaun Fogarty on his KTM. Fogarty and his team mate Jason Davis held onto the lead for about the next 2 hours until rear brake problems forced them back down the field to eventually finish fourth.

Rain really smacked down in Taupo on the Friday prior to the Saturday event and continued right through to about 12:00pm Saturday (one hour into the race). But the magic of the Taupo pumice soil meant that the track was still fairly dry and offered loads of traction. In most other parts of NZ, the rainfall would have made the track almost impossible so the venue choice for the Leatt Four hour is one of the major strengths of the event.

The course was a lot slower this year than in 2009 with the 25km lap taking around 24 minutes to complete for the fastest riders. In 2009 the same length course took 27 minutes. The riders were locked almost solidly in 3rd gear as the battled the thousands of bumps, exposed roots and ruts that formed on the previously flat groomed trail. This slower trail meant the Enduro riders were able to compete on a more even footing with the Motocross riders who tend to perform better at higher speeds.

Eventually the Suzuki RMX 450 pairing of Brad Groombride and Daryl Hurley took line honours over Chris and Karl Power on their Honda CRF 450. Hurley was the only rider to complete 8 laps with Team Power just missing out on doing 8 laps by just 3 seconds. Rory Meade and Adrian Smith rounded out the top 3 on their Yamaha. There was only 15 seconds separating 2nd, 3rd and 4th placing so it would have only taken a tiny mistake by any of these 3 teams to change the result. Last year’s winner Nick Saunders (with a new partner Scott Moir) were not able to repeat last year’s performance and took 5th place well back from 4th.

Another occurrence that could have changed the winning outcome was the 30 second time penalty issued to Karl Power for tightening his fuel cap with his engine running. Checking a fuel cap is a fairly instinctive move by a Cross country racer after refueling, however it was ‘technically’ just outside the rules. This time penalty was one of the most painful and contentious penalties of the day. Karl and Chris can be very proud of their effort at the Leatt four hour after dominating most Cross Country teams races over the last 12 months.

The winning Suzuki pair of Hurley and Groombridge had a major advantage over the other teams because they were able to complete 2 laps before refueling. Bike prep is all part of endurance racing and it is expected that the top teams will run larger fuel tanks in 2011.

First Ironman (individual) home was Suzuki’s Mark Penny aboard an RMZ 450. The very experienced Penny had to perform better than the great ride put in by Tony Parker who led his class for most of the event.

The DRD log crossing was an exciting obstacle with quite a few riders taking on the challenge and coming unstuck. The Leatt ramp jump into the pits proved also proved popular with the spectators as it launched the riders into the base area at the 12 km mark to complete a small MX style section. A real feature of the event was the amount of time the riders spent in view of the pit area either jumping, roosting corners or refueling.

The event rounded out with a prizegiving at the Shed Bar in Taupo with around 100 more riders lining up to take on the rough and tumble of the mechanical bull competition just to completely full their quota of action for the day. The winner taking out a Leatt brace for their effort off the track.

Total numbers were up this year with 375 riders taking on the team or individual challenge compared with 345 riders in 2009. So in year 2 the Leatt Four hour has consolidated it’s position as NZ’s premier Cross Country teams or individual race and is a firm favourite on the calendar of most top NZ racers.

Pictures are available at; 

Leatt Four hour news item 3

Tuesday 17 August 2010

By Nick Reader - 021983766

There has been a fair bit of drama even before the Leatt Four hour takes place this Saturday 21 August near Taupo.  Three of the top riders will not even get to start the event.

The race favorite and recent winner of the Tarawera 100 Cody Cooper is sick in hospital and won’t make it to the start line.  This leaves his team mate Mark Penny to ride Ironman (individual).  Penny is a very experienced and tough rider so he should have a good chance of winning the Ironman and placing top 3 overall.

Chris Birch had entered with Kiwi Rider’s Ollie Sharp, but a broken hand from Chris has taken him out of the race also.  This is a real shame for the rider who is one of the world’s best extreme enduro riders.

Last years runner up Sam Greenslade is also out after taking a fall on a shoulder that was already just recovering from an injury.  Sam lead the 2009 event for all but the last 5km so he will be very disappointed not to compete.

But even with all this misfortune, there are still some very strong riders lining up shoulder to shoulder on Saturday to launch into an event that is quickly becoming one of NZ’s premier events.

Last year’s winner Nick Saunders has teamed up with another Taupo local Scotty Moir.  The boys will campaigning a Kawasaki KXF450 so power will not be an issue.  Scotty steps off his normal Yamaha ride for this one event.

Jason Davis and Shaun Fogarty will be strong threat for the overall win on their KTM as will be Chris and Karl Power on their Honda.

Yamaha have stepped up to the plate with Rory Meade and Adrian Smith giving it a bash.  Both riders will enjoy the slightly slower course than in 2009.

Other teams are entering more with fun in mind which is indicated by their interesting team names ‘ Fat Boy Slim ‘ and C.O.W (Can of WhoopAss).  Good on you boys.

There are 2 options to the event – either Individual (known as Ironman) or in teams of 2.  Most teams will alternate every lap which will take average riders around 30 minutes to complete.

The course is 24km long including a fantastic 2.5km of grass track marked 15 metres wide.  The big bore bikes are going to love unleashing their horsepower on this flowing section.  The 22km of forest trail has had the royal treatment from the Epic Events course crew who have bulldozed the track not once, but twice and then level barred the entire course also to create a fantastic riding surface.  The track is of medium speed, but with very few road sections and straights. 

Riders compete 12km of forest track before jumping back into the base area completing a 500 metre section of grass track before taking on another 12km of forest trail.  This track design means heaps of action in the base area and loads of entertainment for spectators.  Spectators are invited to the event free of charge.

So this Saturday 21st of August at 11am a shot gun will pierce the silence of the Taupo forest setting to send 350 off road motorcyclists into four hours of fun and competition.

Full information at

Leatt Four Hour Saturday 21 August 2010

Media 2

Released Tuesday 10 August 2010

Last year the Suzuki Four hour cranked into life and was immediately NZ's most popular Cross Country teams/individual event.  It had a great bush track, great grass track, fantastic atmosphere and a nail biting finish.  I knew it would be hard to beat that event, but it looks like year 2 is going to be a cracker also and here's why...

Improvement One: There are some rocket ship riders entered including;  Daryl Hurley and Brad Groombridge (experience and youth), Tarawera 100 winner Cody Copper and Mark Penny (sheer speed with a fantastic all round MX and XC rider), Team Honda with cousins Karl and Chris Power flying the red flag, Shaun Fogarty (Tarawera 100 runner up) and part time Aussie resident Jason Davis on the Austrian orange KTMs.  Plus last years winners Nick Saunders and Rhys Carter will be back to defend their hard won title on the mean green machines.  Last years runner up Sam Greenslade is also rumoured to enter and that will be another top Suzuki pilot.

Yamaha - Damien King where are you buddy? - we need someone to fly the Yamaha flag.

Improvement Two: New track.  The event will be held at a completely new venue - Tauhara forest.  It is only 10 minutes from Taupo and has never been used for a motorcycle event so fresh is the word.  There is a fantastic paddock for the pits and 2 superb rolling paddocks to use for the all important Moto tracks.  The track length will be around 24km.  Competitors will start in Moto paddock one, then charge into the first Moto track of 1km before disappearing into the bush, 11km later riders will jump over the fence turn close to the pits (Neil Ritchie will go crazy), then the riders will disappear for another 11km loop in the bush (different to the first 11km).  By now the riders have done 23km and they then charge into the base area to do Moto track #2 (also 1km long).  Riders then have a choice of either a pit stop or bypass the pits to enter Moto track one.  (Brad Groombridge, I recommend stopping for fuel!!!)  Repeat all this 8 times and four hours later, that is the Leatt Four hour 2010.

Improvement 3: Leatt have taken on title sponsorship and are supplying some great Leatt prizes.  All other sponsors including Moto SR, RG3, Spectro, EZ Up, The Shed Bar, Chris Jolly Outdoors, CamelBak, DirtRider Downunder and Suzuki are also supplying heaps of product prizes, most of which is given out at random.

Leatt braces have really upped their game in the NZ market over the last year and we are very proud to be associated with their product.  It is pretty simple really.  Motorcycling is a reasonably high risk sport that can cause neck and spinal injury.  Leatt braces are the original and very best neck brace on the market and can literally save your neck.  See for details.

Now here are some deadlines to make.  Thursday 12th August - merchandising orders close - there are some sweet looking hoodies, tees and beanies that you can buy for a very reasonable price.  Monday 16th August - late fees apply which will cost another $10 per rider so be smart and enter by this Sunday.

New for 2010 is a mixed gender class for all you guys who just can't bear to be separated from your partner.  So far there are 10 teams entered in this category.

For people new to racing there are some tips at 

Remember the Leatt Four hour is a national class race, but the focus is on everyone having a good time on and off the track.  There will be intense rivalry at the sharp end of the field and all the way though with mates racing mates and brand against brand, but at the end of the day we all end up at the Shed bar in Taupo having a laugh, a few beers (2 free per rider) and telling all the post event lies about how fast we were (or used to be).


News 3 August 2010. 

Entries are cranking in so make sure you make the cut.  Last year we had 350 riders and there will be a limit of 400 riders this year.  Super hero Chris Birch has entered along with about 5 other very strong teams and individuals.  You can enter on line right now at  then click on the Taupo four hour.  Even if you are not racing, come along and check out the event as a spectator.  There will be a grass track prior to and after the pits so there will be heaps of action close by.

Leatt 4 Hour Taupo

Saturday 21st August 2010

By Nick Reader

Media Release #1

Friday 16 July 2010

The Epic motorcycle endurance race on Taupo's world famous pumice soil is back... and with a brand new venue and sponsor for 2010.

The new title sponsor is Leatt ‘ the helmet for your neck'. Leatt neck braces are the original and very best neck brace on the market and have the likes of Chris Birch wearing them for all his extreme enduros.  See

This year's four hour will be held in a brand new forest just behind Mt Tauhara in Taupo on that classic pumice soil. The 2010 event will continue with it's winning formula from '09 with a 2km TT style grass track, 23 km of fun bermed forest trail, free beers, topped off with a great night out at The Shed bar for prize giving and the after party.  The course will be around 25 km as it was in 09, but will be slightly slower than 09, with a few less straights and a bit more 3rd gear action

The 09 event was simply fantastic with heaps of riders (350), a close race and fun night out. The Kawasaki team of Rhys Carter and Nick Saunders narrowly beat a mammoth effort from young individual rider Sam Greenslade, followed closely by the team of Jason Davis and Karl Power.  On the last lap there was only about 10 seconds separating the top 3, but a crash by Greenslade ended his chances of the win.  Karl Power will team up with his mate Chris Power in 2010 and will also be title contenders on their racing red Honda.

The 2010 title chase will be close with Suzuki stepping up to the plate and entering 2 very strong teams including Tarawera 100 winner Cody Cooper and MX legend Daryl Hurley.  Saunders will be back to defend his title and strong teams and individuals from all the brands are expected.

Entries are now open. Riders can register on-line at or down load a printable entry form. Entry forms and posters will be available early next week at Suzuki dealers nationwide.

So lock and load Saturday 21 August into your diary and come be a part of the Leatt 4 Hour Taupo!

Info at