That would be pretty good advice for any rider anticipating a gruelling earthmoving, handlebar-bashing battle with the talented off-road bike racer from the Waikato.
The Cambridge builder was slow to get going at the start of this season’s third annual Yamaha-sponsored New Zealand Extreme Off-Road Championship series near Wellington in September – in fact he didn’t even show up, thanks to a workplace injury – but he certainly made up lost ground at the events that followed.
Yearbury took his Husqvarna to win rounds two and three of the series, in Whangamata and Hawke’s Bay respectively, ensuring the series went down to the wire at the double-header final round in Canterbury at the weekend.
With only three of the four rounds of the championship to be counted and riders to discard their one worst score from the three North Island rounds, it was always going to be a tight affair, but, when the engines were finally switched off on Sunday afternoon, it was Yearbury who had emerged as winner in the elite Gold Grade, edging out Wainuiomata’s Jake Whitaker (KTM) by the narrowest of margins, a solitary point.
Third overall was Helensville’s Tom Buxton (KTM).
Whitaker had led the series from the opening round in September, but Yearbury was simply too sharp at the rounds that followed and had soon reduced the margin to just a handful of points as the riders headed down to the South Island’s sole event at the weekend.
Yearbury won outright at both Saturday’s enduro sprint prologue and Sunday’s Nut Buster hard enduro, the series crown was again his.
Yearbury had previously won the inaugural New Zealand Extreme Off-Road Championships outright in 2018, so has now won two of the three series that have been run thus far. Whitaker won the series last year.
“It was a long day on Sunday, very hot weather and no clouds, so it was really tough,” said the 25-year-old Yearbury after Sunday’s racing.
“Normally we’d do two or three laps here, because it’s generally wet and slippery, but we did five laps on Sunday and it took more than five hours to complete.
“I was cramping up and suffered from dehydration. I needed medical help at the finish, with a bag of fluids injected into me.
“I knew I couldn’t afford to make any mistakes, even though I didn’t know how close my rivals were to me. I rode conservatively at the start, but then pushed hard and opened up a bit of a gap. I finished five minutes ahead of Jake (Whitaker) at the finish.
“Last year I wasn’t able to defend my title from 2018 because I was riding in Romania and racing in the United States, so it’s great to win it back this year.
“The next big event for me is the final round of the Dirt Guide Series near Tokoroa (on November 28). I’m leading that series at the moment, so I guess it hasn’t been too bad of a year for me eh?”
Yearbury had also finished a close runner-up overall in the 2020 New Zealand Enduro Championships, which wrapped up in July, that series truncated because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, in the Silver Grade for this year’s extreme series, Taupo rider Wil Yeoman (Yamaha) continued to dominate as he had almost from the start of the series, easily winning the series ahead of Canterbury brothers Cody and Luke Corson (both on KTM bikes) respectively.
Whangamata’s Ethan Jameson (Husqvarna), New Plymouth’s Sam Parker (KTM) and Rerewhakaaitu’s Zach Sefuiva (KTM) respectively took the top three spots in the Bronze Grade.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
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