New Zealand’s Stefan Merriman was unstoppable at rounds eight and nine of the Victorian Off-Road Championships at the weekend.
It was an ideal build-up fort the expatriate Kiwi, a four-time world enduro champion, as he prepares for the Australian Off-road Championship which will be held in the same location in less than a fortnight (on July 10-11).
Starting from a dead start, Merriman was in sixth position by the first corner and worked his way up into third spot by the third lap, following Daniel Milner and Mitch Harper. Milner crashed and Merriman got through into second, then he followed Harper until he too made a mistake, then Merriman led to the finish.
Merriman made two pit stops over the three-hour cross country, as he was using the smaller tank. He then went on to build his lead for the remainder of the race finishing 3.25 minutes ahead of Milner.
Defending champion Milner finished second while Honda’s AJ Roberts round out the podium. Christopher Davey took fourth ahead of Pro Motocross rider Justin Carafa. Carafa was making his second appearance in the Off Road disipline and said he enjoyed the day in the bush.
Riding the new Yamaha YZ450, Merriman had a convincing win on Sunday in the Sprint format. Merriman took a clean sweep winning all seven of the 11 minute sprints, with combined times he won by 1 min 12 secs from Milner and Harper.
Merriman will return home to prepare for the next Australian Offroad Championship in Wedderburn, Victoria, on July 10.
Yamaha Victorian Offroad Champs – Round 8 (Saturday -Cross Country)
1 Stefan MERRIMAN – 2:50:59.384 –
2 Daniel MILNER – 2:54:24.461 – 3:25.077
3 AJ ROBERTS – 2:56:00.000 – 5:00.616
4 Christopher DAVEY – 2:58:32.784 – 7:33.400
5 Justin CARAFA – 3:00:04.389 – 9:05.005
Yamaha Victorian Offroad Champs – Round 9 (Sunday – Sprint)
1 Stefan MERRIMAN – 1:17:43.612
2 Daniel MILNER – 1:18:55.220
3 Mitch HARPER – 1:20:10.921
4 Sean MILNER – 1:21:14.681
5 Dale Martin MARTIN – 1:21:19.046
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com