New Zealand’s Stefan Merriman (Yamaha) was simply too good for his rivals at the two rounds of the NSW Enduro Championships held in Dungog, Australia, last weekend.
Merriman aced both days, while fellow Kiwi Jason Davis (KTM) also put in a sensational ride to finish fourth and second respectively over the two days.
The Dungog Motorcycle Club put on an excellent event, with more than 200km of challenging trail, three special tests and a final motocross event at held at the Dungog Showgrounds.
The Forest 300, as it is known, draws a good mix of junior and seniors off road racers who compete in Clubman, Expert and Pro class categories. The first round on Saturday consisted of two laps of the special tests and a difficult bush loop where competitors race against the clock to complete the timed sections within the allocated time.
The first timed Special stage at Robs’ Cross Test, saw competitors race a 7km special on an off-cambered steep, grassy paddock. Four time World Enduro Champion, Stefan Merriman from Nelson Bay (NSW), took an early lead over Geoff Braico.
This was then consolidated with fast times in Charlies’ grass track motocross special test, on a private property near Chichester Dam. Merriman then went on to win the final stage a difficult, dusty enduro test in dense forest, known as Peacock’s Revenge.
After completing the timed sections, the riders parked their bikes at the Parc Ferme and waited to be marshalled for their final motocross heats on a custom built track at the stadium.
Merriman sealed his Day One outright victory with a 2-1 finish, a total of 30 seconds ahead of Geoff Braico (Husaberg). Merriman’s Ballard Wellard Yamaha team-mate Josh Ballard rounded out the podium in third.
Day 2 proved a little more difficult for most riders as the track got cut up by the bikes and dry dusty conditions prevailed. Merriman bettered his times on the previous day, however Braico suffered a big crash in Peacock’s Revenge Enduro Test and was forced to withdraw with an ankle injury.
Central Coast KTM supported Kiwi rider Davis, from Whangamata in the Coromandel, stepped up the competition and challenged Merriman in the grass track motocross tests.
However Merriman got away with another 30-second victory, proving too strong in the technical enduro tests.
About the race, Merriman said: “Dungog MCC made an excellent job of this event. It was a great combination of special tests and trail riding that could be enjoyed by riders of all levels.
“The Dungog club always put such a big effort into ensuring the track is well marked and safe, which makes a good basis for competition. It is definitely one of the best organised events in the off road racing calendar.”
Merriman’s next event is the NSW Sprint and Cross Country Championship to be held in Orange on 22-23rd May 2010. The next national event will be the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) the following weekend on May 29 and 30 being held at Moruya (NSW South Coast).
Day One – Outright results – Total Time
1. Stefan Merriman (Yamaha) 29:21.31
2. Geoff Braico (Husaberg)29:50.22
3. Josh Ballard (Yamaha) 31:21.60
4. Jason Davis (KTM) 30:24.81
5. Peter Clark (Honda) 30:57.01
Day Two – Outright Results – Total Time
1. Stefan Merriman (Yamaha) 35:01.35
2. Jason Davis (KTM) 35:33.39
3. Josh Ballard (Yamaha) 36:38.87
4. Damien Smith (KTM)36:53.82
5. Tom McCormack (Yamaha) 37:05.80
© Words by Lexy Thorogood and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com