Auckland’s Chris Birch (KTM) was unstoppable at the third round of five in this year’s 2010 Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships in the Riverhead Forest, near Auckland, on Sunday.
But, despite being in hot form, the 29-year-old has already conceded that he won’t be a contender for the national crown this season.
Birch won the opening round of the series near Kawhia in January, but he and the defending national champion, Whitby’s Rory Mead (Yamaha), missed round two near Whangamata last month when they were overseas with international racing commitments.
“I am really out of the running for the outright title this year,” said Birch. “This is because I will also miss a round later in the series because of other commitments.
“I enjoyed the riding today, though. There was a nice long section and that suited me … I’m very fit at the moment,” he said.
Mead was also in action at Riverhead on Sunday, finishing the day third overall, just behind Auckland’s Karl Power (Honda).
Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Gary Powell said that, with Birch’s forecast absence from a further round of the series, Power was now in prime position to win the overall title.
“The sport is going great at the moment. We had 42 experts entered today and 38 intermediates and this was despite most of them having already raced here yesterday (at the Yamaha Top Trail Rider Series event).”
Round four of the national series is set for the Central Hawke’s Bay coast, at Akitio, on March 21.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com