Taranaki’s Adrian Smith and Auckland cousins Karl and Chris Power will use this weekend’s sixth and final round of the New Zealand Enduro Championships in Taupo as a final warm-up ahead of racing in Northern Europe.
The trio leave for Finland next weekend to race in the International Six Days Enduro, the annual “Olympic games of dirt bike racing,” quietly hoping it won’t involve them having to duck and dodge bullets this time around.
The Kiwis come together as the same Wellard Yamaha New Zealand club team they created to race the ISDE when it was staged in Mexico last season.
Smith (pictured above) says his sights are set on winning another gold medal at the event.
The 25-year-old Mokau farmer won gold last year and also has three ISDE silver medal performances to his credit, with this year’s campaign his fifth attempt.
Meanwhile, tomorrow’s big race at Wairakei, just north of Taupo, will be the riders’ final “big blow-out” before they pack their bags for Finland.
“I have to settle for runner-up in the under-300cc four-stroke class at this year’s nationals,” said Smith. “It doesn’t matter what happens this weekend because Karl Power has already wrapped up the class win – but I can go hard to try and win the day,” he said.
“To be honest, my focus now is on Finland. I have never been there before but, after talking with a few of the Finnish riders, the terrain sounds very similar to what we have here … sand-based pine forests. I’m looking forward to racing there.”
He will race a Yamaha YZ250F four-stroke machine, identical to the one he has raced in New Zealand this season.
The Power boys will ride the bigger Yamaha YZ450F machines.
The three Yamaha riders finished runner-up in the race-within-a-race for club team honours at the ISDE last season and Smith believes they can win it this time around.
“That’s the aim anyway,” he smiled.
It’s also hoped that the ISDE can run its full course this year. Last season’s ISDE in Morelia, Mexico, was cut short, reduced to a five-day event, as gunfights between warring drug cartels and the Mexican police broke out near to where the final day of racing had been scheduled.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com