It was another box ticked for Yamaha ace Rory Mead at the weekend.
The national enduro champion from Whitby, just north of Wellington, travelled 1500 kilometres at the weekend to race and win the annual Waitemata Motorcycle Club’s Dead Toad Three-hour Cross-country race in the Woodhill Forest.
“It was worth the long drive,” he smiled. “It’s always a pleasure to ride a Waitemata Motorcycle Club event, whether it’s at Riverhead or Woodhill. The tracks are awesome and the events are well run.
“This year’s event was the 35th Dead Toad and only the second I’ve ever ridden. The track was fast and tight, in and out of the pine trees.”
Auckland’s Chris Power (Honda) and Te Awamutu’s Mark Penny (Suzuki) led soon after the shotgun blast signalled the start. Mead found himself jostling for positions with fellow enduro ace Karl Power (Auckland, KTM), the two old foes resurrecting their national enduro championship battles as they fought hard for space on the track.
“We got lost for a second or two, but caught up with the others quickly and I came into the pits at the end of the first lap just behind Karl, in third place.
“Karl took an early lead and I was happy to stay behind him, we both pitted and fuelled up at the end of the second lap.”
Then, on the third lap of six, Mead struck.
“I took my chance and went for it, passed Karl and took a 30-second lead at the end of the lap. From them on I pushed hard.”
Meanwhile, Penny had moved back up and into second position.
“This was the first time I had given this event a go,” said the Te Awamutu rider. “My riding experience on the tight sandy tracks of the Woodhill forest has been very limited and, to be honest, my skills in this department weren’t too flash. So I thought, what better way to improve than get up there and ride?”
However, Penny had no answer for the pace of Mead, the Kiwi international continuing to stretch his advantage, eventually putting eight minutes between himself and Penny by the end of the six-lap race.
“I was rapt; all that hard work at the gym and on the push bike was starting to pay dividends,” said Mead.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com