This year’s third annual edition of the four-round Yamaha-sponsored hard enduro competition kicks off at Moonshine, off Bulls Run Road, near Porirua on Sunday, September 13, with round two to follow in the Taungatara Forest, not far from Whangamata, just two weeks later on September 26.
A two-dayer in Hawke’s Bay will push riders to breaking point at round three on October 31 and November 1, with the competition again wrapping up with another double-header weekend, at the Nut Buster hard enduro at Oxford, near Christchurch, on November 14-15.
Only the bold, brave and superbly talented should expect to win an event as tough as this, but that should not deter any accomplished dirt bike rider from giving it a crack.
Only three of the four rounds of the NZ Extreme Off-road Championship are to be counted, with riders discarding their one worst score from the three North Island rounds, while riders hoping to win the series outright should obviously factor in a trip to the Nut Buster final round in the South Island.
Cambridge’s Dylan Yearbury won the inaugural the NZ Extreme Off-Road Championship series in 2018, while Wainuiomata’s Jake Whitaker was top dog in this series last year, and these two men he will almost certainly be among the title contenders again this time around.
Other leading riders such as Canterbury brothers Angus and Hamish Macdonald, Whanganui’s Seth Reardon, New Plymouth’s Tony Parker, Rotorua’s Bradley Lauder, Manawatu’s Paul Whibley, Tokoroa’s Sean Clarke, Hamilton’s Phil Singleton, Helensville’s Tom Buxton, Tokoroa’s Jake Wightman, Oamaru’s Bradley Simpson and Napier’s Mackenzie Wiig, to name a few, could also be expected to threaten for the main trophy this year.
Hamish Macdonald is currently racing in Europe, but it is possible that he’ll be back for the final round on his home turf.
Buxton, Parker, Lauder and Wiig finished behind Whitaker in that order to complete the top five overall for the championship standings in the premier Gold Class last year.
In the Silver Class, Hastings rider Brett Gunson won the 2019 series ahead of New Plymouth duo Daniel Herbert and Mark Horwell.
The top three in the Bronze Class last year were Whitecliffs’ rider Luke Corson, Rerewhakaaitu’s Zach Sefuiva and then Hastings rider Michael Toulmin.
Best of the Silver Veterans (40-49 years) for the 2019 series was Auckland’s Troy Field, with Kaukapakapa’s Lucia Oles topping the Bronze Women’s Class.
Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Justin Stevenson said the course for this weekend had been “well-prepared” and was “looking great”.
“It will be very gnarly and challenging,” he said. “We have added rocks to what is already rocky land … there are tree roots, river beds and steep up-hills and down-hills for the riders to deal with, so it’s, generally-speaking, pretty snotty terrain. If it rains it will be particularly interesting.
“With COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in place, we will be observing social distancing during sign-on and in the pit area. We have extensive management plans in place to avoid large gatherings.”
The 2020 Yamaha NZ Extreme Off-Road Championships are supported by Mitas tyres, Macaulay Metals, Best Build Construction, Silver-bullet and Kiwi Rider magazine.
Riders should also note that there will be racing at Moonshine this coming Saturday (see poster above). The same venue that will be used on Sunday will be host to the first round of the North Island Enduro Champs on Saturday – perhaps an ideal warm-up for the following day’s extreme event?
The 2020 NZ Extreme Off-Road Championship calendar:
Round one: September 13, Moonshine Extreme, Bulls Run Rd, Porirua.
Round two: September 26, Taungatara Forest, Whangamata.
Round three: October 31-November 1, Over The Top, Hawke’s Bay.
Round four: November 14-15, Nut Buster, Oxford, Christchurch.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
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