A 250cc bike can be more than a match for a 450cc machine, especially in the hands of a rider such as Taranaki’s Adrian Smith.
The Mokau man took his Yamaha YZ250F to prove just that at the third and final round of the popular Dirt Guide Cross-Country series at Whakamaru on Saturday, winning the two-hour senior race ahead of 450cc bike pilots Reece Burgess (Husaberg FE450), of Tauranga, and Napier’s John O’Dea (Suzuki RM-Z450).
Fourth overall was another rider on a small capacity Yamaha, Auckland teenager Callan May, bringing his YZ125 home just three seconds behind O’Dea.
While Smith was the day’s big winner, most eyes were perhaps focussed on what was happening behind him.
Just one point separated Burgess, O’Dea and May at the top of the standings when they arrived at the forestry course on Saturday morning and, with Smith a notable absentee from one of the earlier rounds, it was the battle between this leading trio that would determine the overall series glory, Burgess’ runner-up finish eventually deciding the title in his favour.
O’Dea settled for runner-up honours and May wound up third overall, with event organiser Sean Clarke (Yamaha WR250) finishing ninth overall on Saturday to take the fourth spot in the final championship standings.
The Kiwi Rider magazine-sponsored series has been a real hit with the country’s off-road bike riders, with competitor numbers growing with each outing and the weekend’s finale was no exception with 68 riders lining up for the five-lap senior race and 22 entrants in the 90-minute junior race, run earlier in the day.
Top junior on Saturday was once again Huntly’s Ryan Hoskins (Husqvarna CR150). Hoskins has dominated both the earlier rounds and his third consecutive win on Saturday completed the clean sweep for the series.
Clarke’s son, Jesse Clarke (Yamaha YZ125), finished third in the junior race on Saturday and that was enough for him to seal runner-up spot for the series, with fellow Tokoroa rider O’Neill Sinclair (Yamaha YZ250F) finishing runner-up on Saturday and moving up the rankings to finish third overall for the series.
Atiamuri’s Richard Newton (Yamaha TTR230) won the separate battle for 12-13 years’ junior class honours on Saturday, but a runner-up finish by Putaruru’s Liam Anderson (Kawasaki KX85) was enough for him to wrap up the class title.
It was a similar story for Te Awamutu’s James Scott (Kawasaki KX65), who finished runner-up to Auckland’s Jake Wightman (KTM SX85) in the junior 10-11 years’ category on Saturday but still sealed up the class title.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com