Wednesday, June 1

NATIONAL ENDURO BATTLE RESUMES

Words & Pic by Andy McGechan
Tokoroa’s Sean Clarke (Yamaha)

Nearly three months have passed since the elite of the nation’s off-road motorcycle community last went head-to-head for New Zealand Enduro Championship glory.

The competition resumes this weekend with the fifth round of six in this year’s Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships in the Riverhead Forest, near Auckland, and the racing on Sunday is sure to sort the protagonists from the pretenders.

With three outright wins in a row, Taupo’s Rory Mead is edging ever closer to the national motorcycling title that he last held in 2009.

After the fourth round of the series near Whangarei in March, the 24-year-old Mead (Yamaha YZ450F) put himself a comfortable 11 points ahead of his nearest rival, Auckland’s Karl Power (Honda CRF450).

In addition to winning the Whangarei event outright and firming his grip on the title, Mead also moved to within just a few points of taking over the lead in the over-300cc four-stroke class, the advantage there currently held by Tauranga’s Reece Burgess.

Other riders likely to step up this weekend include Hokianga brothers Mitchell and Damon Nield, who finished fourth and fifth overall respectively at the previous round, while Burgess and Auckland trio Sam Greenslade, Michael Skinner and Caleb Van Dragt should also feature.

Tokoroa’s Sean Clarke is top of the veterans’ class and, as a many time former national champion and former International Six Days Enduro medal winner, he can never be counted out.

The sixth and final round of the Yamaha-sponsored series is set for Taupo on July 2.