A MARATHON EFFORT

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Completing a gruelling six-hour dirt bike race is one thing, but to do it all alone is quite another.

But that’s what Taumarunui farmer Kevin Taylor did at Matata, in the Bay of Plenty, at the weekend.

Taylor took his Bike Torque Yamaha YZ450F into battle at the big annual Castrol Six-Hour cross-country race on Saturday with the expectation only that he would enjoy himself, not that he would win the veterans’ category and the solo (ironman) division as well.

The 40-year-old sheep and beef farmer finished the day 14th overall out of 48 starters, not unexpectedly crossing the finish line behind many of the high-profile and high-powered two-man teams, riders who would share the strains of the event between them, while the only respite for Taylor was those few brief moments when he’d come into the pits for a re-fuel.

“It was a really tough battle. I needed to make four fuel stops because I could only get two laps out of a tank, but my body’s batteries went flat in the fifth hour and I just had to park it up for a couple of minutes to get some energy back.

“Saturday’s race was actually the one-year anniversary of when I started competition racing, so winning my class was a great way to celebrate that.”

In the end, Taylor finished the race a full lap ahead his nearest rival for solo class honours, Taupo’s Ben Pepper.

“I guess it all comes down to fitness. I ride the bike a lot on my farm all day and I walk a lot and go deer stalking too. Thankfully it wasn’t too hot on Saturday.”

The race was won outright by Whakatane brothers Damon and Mitchell Rees (Honda CRF450), while Auckland’s Chris Power and Whakatane’s Darren Capill finished runners-up, sharing the riding chores on a WR450F enduro bike.

Taylor has a busy weekend coming up … he will tackle round two of the New Zealand Enduro Championships near Wellington on Saturday and then drive north to compete at the fourth and final round of the Bel Ray Cross-country series in North Waikato on Sunday.

© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

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