Kiwi international Rory Mead can’t wait to roll his bike out of his garage in Whitby and kick-start it into life.
The weather may have been damp and miserable recently, but the former national enduro champion and extreme enduro specialist is not one to shelter on the sidelines, especially not when the sixth and final round of the Yamaha Top Trail Rider Enduro series (northern region) is scheduled for this weekend.
It means another long drive for the Yamaha rider from the Wellington region because Sunday’s race is set for Tar Hill, just a few kilometres south of Tokoroa, but that’s really just a hop and a skip for this well-travelled Kiwi international.
The central North Island location also means Mead can expect to face some of his toughest rivals as riders from Auckland and Whangarei in the north, Taranaki in the west and Hawke’s Bay in the east are also expected to converge on the forestry course.
One of his fiercest rivals is likely to be fellow Yamaha ace Adrian Smith, of Mokau, the former national cross-country champion and reigning national under-200cc enduro champion proving to be a tough opponent, even though he rides a YZ 125cc two-stroke motocross bike and therefore gives away a huge horsepower advantage to his rivals.
Titirangi’s Callan May (Yamaha YZ125) is another who puts his faith in the small bike and, so far in the series, he has also proven to be very capable of leading the way.
“The enduro will be about 90 kilometres long for the junior riders and about 120 kilometres for the intermediates and expert riders,” said event organiser Sean Clark, of Tokoroa.
In addition, strong challenges are expected from Hokianga brothers Mitchell and Damon Nield (Husqvarna), cousins Karl Power (Auckland, Honda) and Chris Power (Waihi Beach, Honda), Napier brothers John and Lance O’Dea (Suzuki) and Whangamata’s national enduro champion Jason Davis (KTM).
“There will be two separate special tests as well, one done twice and one done three times.
“Many of the riders are familiar with the terrain at Tar Hill (it was used for the International Six Days Enduro in 2006) but, if it’s muddy, it will be very interesting indeed.
“We have had a great turn-out in this series … it’s been very popular … and I’m expecting at least 100 riders again on Sunday.”
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com