Taupo’s Rory Mead is at it again, taking on the best off-road dirt bike riders in the country and beating them all.
The Yamaha ace lined up at the novel Te Puke Endurocross on Saturday determined to fend off challenges from some of the nation’s top enduro riders but also from top riders from other codes too, such as two-time national motocross champion Michael Phillips (Honda CRF450), of Rotorua.
Mead, currently leading the New Zealand Enduro Championships after two of six rounds, survived the qualification phase of the event, racing over stacks of man-made obstacles such as tyres and car bodies, as well as logs and massive boulders.
Already exhausted, when the 24-year-old Mead (YZ250F) eventually reached the final he found himself lined up against new foe Phillips and old enduro rival Karl Power, of Auckland.
The racing was close and it went down to the wire when Mead finally struck, passing Phillips just before the final lap to take the chequered flag, while Power (Honda CRF250) accepted third position.
“I had had another dreadful start and had to catch up to the leaders,” said Mead. “Luckily it was a 10-lapper, so I had a bit of time. I finally caught Mikey (Phillips) as we started the final lap and a lapper got in the way. I went left and Mike went right and it worked out for me.”
Mead and Phillips came close to lapping down as far as third place.
Aucklander Mike Skinner (KTM 300) finished fourth, ahead of Tauranga’s Reece Burgess (Husaberg 450). Sixth and seventh were Te Puke brothers Chris Singleton (Kawasaki 450) and Phil Singleton (Honda 250), with Taupo’s Greg De Lautour (KTM 400) finishing eighth.
Another Yamaha rider, Mokau’s Adrian Smith, won this event last year. Mead did not ride last year because he was away racing in the United Kingdom at the time.
Then, just to fill out his weekend, Mead turned up at round five of the Grand National Cross-country Champs at Maddix Park in Tauranga the following day (Sunday).
Again he found himself battling with Power and again he managed to pull away for the win. Mead was so far in front, nearly seven minutes ahead of Power as the race neared the end, that Mead was the only rider sent out to do an eighth lap.
“I’m pretty fit at the moment and looking ahead to the third round of the enduro nationals (at Whangamata on February 26) and then the opening round of the North Island Cross-country Championships the following day at Hamilton.”
Mead also has plans later in the year to join fellow Kiwi Yamaha star Paul Whibley and race several rounds of the United States GNCC series.
© Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
© Photo by Colin Smith