It was a different bike for Kiwi hero Rory Mead at the weekend but the result was the same for the national enduro champion, another couple of wins.
And Mead will try to extend his winning run when he goes head-to-head with national cross-country champion Adam Reeves, of Pahiatua, at round three of the Suzuki New Zealand Cross-country Championships near Martinborough this weekend.
It was a busy time for Whitby’s Mead last weekend as he took a new Yamaha YZ250F four-stroke to tackle the opening round of the Dirt Guide Cross-country series near Tokoroa on Saturday then backed that up by racing at the second round of the Yamaha TTR Central Enduro Championships series near Pahiatua the following day.
He won both events outright.
“Tokoroa is possibly my favourite place to ride in New Zealand. The riding there is perfect for off-road motorcycle racing,” said the 23-year-old builder.
“The conditions were dry on Saturday and Sean Clark had set out a great track. It was held at Tar Hill, the same place they had a special test during the International Six Days Enduro in 2006.
“Because I am racing a Yamaha YZ250F now, instead of the two-stroke YZ250, I was a little nervous about the dead engine start. But the 250F fired up quickly and I was running second around the first corner and I managed to snatch up the lead by the third corner and simple held the lead until the chequered flag.”
He headed home Auckland cousins Karl Power (Honda CRF250R) and Chris Power (Honda CRF450R), winning the race by about one minute from Karl.
“After the first two laps he (Mead) had set a one‐minute lead,” said Karl Power afterwards.
“It stayed that way for most of the race. He didn’t pull away and I couldn’t catch him. I had a pretty lonely ride, I just had to keep the same pace as Rory and I was pulling away from third place.
“I came into the pits for the last fuel stop to finish off the final lap and I was told the gap was still a minute. There were a lot of lappers on the last lap and it got me excited and it made me push harder.”
Mead was thrilled with the performance of his bike over the weekend.
“The bike continued to amaze me (at the Pahiatua event) on Sunday,” said Mead. “The conditions were far from ideal with heavy rain the night before making the hard-pack clay terrain very slippery. The little 250 was getting the power down on the slippery clay though and I managed to win every test and take the overall victory there too.
“The four-stroke engine technology is developing so much these days that there’s really little difference in the weight of the bikes — two-stroke and four-stroke – and I do like the smooth power delivery of the four-stroke machine.”
Mead’s next major assignment is to tackle the third round of four in this year’s New Zealand Cross-country Championships, set for farmland near Martinborough on Saturday.
Mead has not contested the earlier two rounds but he will be keen to make an impact regardless and perhaps challenge series leader Reeves (Yamaha).
Reeves has finished 1-2 in the two rounds thus far and is favoured to retain his national cross-country crown this season.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com