A fourth-place finish was enough in the end for Napier’s John O’Dea to wrap up the 2009 edition of the Yamaha Top Trail Rider (Central) Enduro Series on Sunday.
With several of the series front-runners opting not to show up for the fifth and final round in the Santoft Forest on Sunday, it meant the pressure was off for O’Dea, a rider who had been threatening to take national honours in at least two motorcycling codes earlier this season.
O’Dea (Suzuki) missed on winning the national cross-country and enduro titles, those crowns instead going respectively to Pahiatua’s Adam Reeves (Yamaha) and Whitby’s Rory Mead (Yamaha), but it came as a welcome consolation for O’Dea to grasp the TTR Central series title on Sunday afternoon.
Paengaroa’s Phil Singleton (Honda) won the day at Santoft, finishing 34 seconds ahead of Wellington’s Hugh Lintott (Honda) and 48 seconds ahead of Okato’s Sheldon Hill (KTM) at the end of the day, but fourth place was good for O’Dea to take the five-round series in the expert class.
Even though he did not turn up on Sunday and he also missed the previous round, Yamaha’s Mead still finished runner-up for the series, remarkably just 12 points adrift of O’Dea. Third best was Lintott with Hill, Waimiha’s Gary Powell (Honda) and Yamaha’s Reeves filling out the top six championship positions in the expert grade.
It was a hard luck story for Palmerston North’s Morgan Dransfield (Honda), who had been on the pace to win the day until a big crash ruined it for him. He took a hasty trip to the ambulance and still managed to finish the day but the time he had lost proved his undoing. He still finished sixth overall on the day at Santoft.
The crew from Linton Multisport set up an interesting course through the trees and organiser Steven Bird said everyone enjoyed the challenge.
“We had sent out a few emails to invite trail riders to give it a go and we were surprised by the positive response. But that’s what the TTR series is all about … catering for the high-end riders and also getting newcomers into the sport.”
The Yamaha TTR series targeted novice and enduro first-timers, offering challenging but not impossible terrain to tempt and introduce newcomers to the sport.
The Yamaha New Zealand TTR series featured two parallel but separate series — the five-round TTR Yamaha Central Enduro Series and the five-round TTR Yamaha Northern Enduro Series.
Both TTR series were run independently from the national championships series, with emphasis on low-stress, good time rides, an ideal format for club riders to try out enduro racing without the stress associated with the elite level of the sport.
The twin TTR series and the nationals were all sponsored by Yamaha New Zealand, Kiwi Rider magazine, Acerbis, Mitas Tyres, HJC Helmets and were both supported by Motorcycling New Zealand.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com