Inspired by the team concept found in the XTERRA U.S. Series with the likes of the XTERRA Ambassadors, MelRad Racing and EPC Multisport squads, New Zealand XTERRA pro Mark “Cabin” Leishman wanted to do something special for the 10th edition of the XTERRA New Zealand Championship by creating a team for his country – Black Dirt Racing.
“For me it’s a way of putting something back into a sport that gives us so much,” said Leishman. “I wanted to put together something with meaning. For years we chase sponsors and slap any logo on ourselves to highlight that. But I got sick of that. I wanted to create something that was uniquely ours and meant something. Not just to us, but to everyone.”
So what does it mean? “The brand represent’s New Zealand. It represents getting out amongst the outdoors and enjoying the stunning natural resources on offer. And it represents our strive for personal achievement,” he explained. “So I guess it’s our very kiwi embodiment of XTERRA – Live More.”
In selecting team members Leishman said it was a pretty easy task. “We’re all like minded people. We work regular jobs to fund our passions and we all have similar ideals and enjoy what we do. We’re all people I’ve assisted and coached at some point so it’s just good mates, supporting each other, and striving to achieve to our potential. Really we are just having fun. I mean; we have Crouchers Brewing as a sponsor,” Leishman mused.
The Black Dirt Racing team did well at the XTERRA NZ Champs. Nic Leary was 4th in the women's pro field despite tearing a calf muscle just 2km from the finish (whilst running 2nd). Leishman placed a strong 4th overall, John Gray followed in 7th with PB swim/run times, followed by two age-group silver medals for Matt Randall (30-34), and Tony Keith (35-39).