Whitby’s Rory Mead has stretched his lead in the popular Dirt Guide Cross-country Championships after winning round two near Atiamuri on Saturday.
The Yamaha ace won the two-hour race by five minutes from arch rivals Chris Birch (KTM), of Auckland, and Chris Power (Honda), of Waihi Beach. Napier’s Lance O’Dea (Suzuki) was third and Mokau’s Adrian Smith, riding the tiny Yamaha YZ125 motocross bike, finished fifth.
“The track was reasonably dry, considering all the rain the country has been getting … I thought I would be facing another brutal ride like the notorious Rut 100 event,” said Mead.
“I think (organiser) Sean Clarke has the best cross-country series in New Zealand. The terrain is possibly the best this country has to offer. It’s relatively fast and flowing but still technical enough to keep riders on their toes,” said the Northern Accessories-supported rider.
“I was very pleased with how it went. I have been training extremely hard in the hope I would make it back to the big international extreme Erzberg enduro in Austria this year.
“However, the victory wasn’t all my doing on Saturday. I do owe some thanks to the bike (a 2010-model Yamaha YZ250F). I would say it’s the easiest bike I have ever ridden. I am very impressed with the changes Yamaha have made to the YZ250F.
Jointly sponsored by Dirt Guide and Kiwi Rider magazine, this year’s series has used some of the same terrain that was raced over by the word’s best when the region hosted the International Six Days Enduro in 2006.
“But that didn’t seem to have discouraged anyone from giving it a go,” said Clarke.
“This series is actually aimed at introducing novice and first-timers just as much as it has been good racing for the expert riders,” Clarke said.
The third and final round is set for Whakamaru on June 26.
There’s no rest now for Mead or his bike with the fifth and final round of the Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships set for forestry near Taupo this Saturday.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com