Cross-country dirt bike marathons such as the fabled Tarawera 100 require speed, courage and stamina in equal doses.
Fortunately for national MX2 class motocross champion Darryll King, he possesses as all those factors in abundance.
The only component that the 42-year-old from Hamilton might lack is horsepower – he’s heading to the Kawerau venue this weekend with his trusted Rockstar Yamaha YZ250 to do battle with the nation’s elite cross-country racers, many of whom will be on 450cc bikes.
But King reckons he’s still in with a chance of repeating an outright win at the event, in much the same way he did when racing a similar YZ250 to victory at the Tarawera 100 event in 2002.
The 100-mile (160-kilometre) race distance from which the event draws its name is typically a battle of doggedness and determination as much as it is a battle of pace and King knows his bike is as durable as they come.
“I’m really looking forward to the race. It’s part of my build-up to a couple of international motocross events I am intending to race in the coming months.
“I always try to ride the Tarawera 100 event. It’s a great race, a good, high-profile event. My body is ready, willing and able to give it a crack. I’ve got a slightly bigger fuel tank on the YZ250 and we’ll just see how we go from there.
“To be honest, I doubt if I can win it, especially not if (last year’s Tarawera 100 winner and MotoGB Suzuki’s reigning national MX1 motocross champion) Cody Cooper shows up, but I always ride well at this event and, if I ride smart, who knows what might happen.”
Meanwhile, King’s younger brother Damien King has taken a Yamaha YZ450F to win the race outright three times in the past five years but, sadly, he will be a non-starter this weekend as injury keeps him sidelined.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com