The best off-road bike racers in the country will head to the Santoft Forest this weekend.
The popular Yamaha Top Trail Rider (Central) Enduro Series wraps up with the fifth and final round near Palmerston North on Saturday with a entry list that should read like a Who’s Who of Kiwi talent.
Men such as Pahiatua’s recently-crowned national cross country champion Adam Reeves (Yamaha) (pictured above), Palmerston North’s Steven Bird (Honda), Mokau’s Adrian Smith (Yamaha), Whangamata’s Jason Davis (KTM), Auckland’s Karl Power (KTM), Hokianga’s Mitchell Nield (Husqvarna), Palmerston North’s Morgan Dransfield (Honda), Atiamuri’s Duncan McLaren (Yamaha), Hamilton’s Chris Singleton (Kawasaki) and Tokoroa’s Sean Clarke (Yamaha), to name just a few, should be among those fighting for glory.
Despite winning the previous round of the TTR (Central) series, local man Reeves still has some catching up to do in the points chase.
Fellow Yamaha rider Rory Mead, of Whitby, leads the series, albeit only by six points after he was forced to miss the previous round because of international racing duties.
Napier’s John O’Dea (Suzuki) is in second position and Reeves is now up to third, a further six points in arrears of the Hawke’s Bay rider.
It could come down to a straight battle between Mead, O’Dea and Reeves this weekend, although Marton rider Cam Smith (Suzuki) could also cause an upset. Smith won both the national cross-country and enduro titles last season and rates the Santoft Forest as one of his favourite venues.
The Yamaha TTR series targets novice and enduro first-timers, offering challenging but not impossible terrain to tempt and introduce newcomers to the sport.
The Yamaha New Zealand TTR series features two parallel but separate series — the five-round TTR Yamaha Central Enduro Series and the five-round TTR Yamaha Northern Enduro Series.
Both TTR series run independently from the national championships series, with emphasis on low-stress, good time rides, an ideal format for club riders to try out enduro racing without the stress associated with the elite level of the sport.
The twin TTR series and the nationals are all sponsored by Yamaha New Zealand, Kiwi Rider magazine, Acerbis, Mitas Tyres and HJC Helmets.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com