Taupo’s Rory Mead is making the most of every opportunity to race while he’s in the United States.
The Yamaha ace has had a staggered start to his first foray into cross-country racing with two of his big planned rides being postponed because of atrocious weather and flooding.
The former New Zealand enduro champion and leader of the 2011 domestic championship — which is now at the halfway stage but with a break in the calendar – was pleased to make it out onto a race track at Bismarck, Arkansas, just his second major appearance in America this season.
“I raced in the fifth round of the AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) national enduro series on Sunday, finishing sixth outright,” said Mead.
“It was not a typical enduro format like what we have in New Zealand. The special tests were around 20 minutes’ duration, riding through tight bush. The track was so tight in parts that I cut down the handlebars on my Yamaha YZ450F so that I could fit through the trees better.”
“I am pleased with how the day went, considering the style of racing is a lot different and the tracks do not compare to the ones I’m used to at home.
“It rained a lot over the weekend, so the track got pretty rutted too.
“I was about 50 bikes behind the leaders which made it hard to pick the fast lines as a lot of bogs had taken over the track.”
Mead has impressed during his short stint in the US.
He rode a two-hour cross-country race, the Mountain Challenge, at Wilkesboro, North Carolina, earlier this month, finishing a close runner-up.
He only missed out on winning that event because, riding a stock standard YZ450F without an oversized after-market fuel tank, he required an extra fuel stop that the eventual winner did not.
Mead is due back in New Zealand when the national enduro championship resumes with round five at Riverhead Forest in just over a week’s time.
He leads the New Zealand championship overall and also commands the over-300cc four-stroke class with just two rounds to go before it wraps up at round six near Taupo in late July.
Leading results from round five of the AMA enduro nationals:
Andrew De Long
Shane Hufford jnr
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com