The Kiwi contingent is still going strong at the International Six Days Enduro in Finland.
It is steady as she goes for the three-man Wellard New Zealand Yamaha Club Team after the fourth day of six in the big annual “Olympic Games of off-road racing”, with all three riders poised to earn individual gold medals and the team well placed to finish on the podium in the battle-within-a-battle for Club Team honours.
The New Zealand riders – Mokau’s Adrian Smith (Yamaha YZ250F) and Auckland cousins Karl and Chris Power (both on Yamaha YZ450F bikes) – are each at the pointy end of their respective classes.
The leading Swedish club team (Team West) has been forced to give up its position at the head of the Club Team section, as the very strong team from the Czech Republic (Husaberg Czech) leapfrogged them yesterday and immediately opened out a one minute 10 second advantage at the top of the standings.
The Wellard New Zealand Yamaha Club Team remains in third spot overall, now just a shade under six minutes behind Team West.
Two more Swedish team follow the Kiwis, with a team from Wales moving up to sixth spot overall.
A gap is now starting to open up between the leading teams with 12 minutes now between the first-ranked Czech team and the sixth-ranked Team Wales.
Taranaki’s Smith is still the man to beat for individual honours in the C1 (club teams’ under-300cc four-stroke) class. Smith has now stretched his lead to 1m 52s over Italian rider Maurizio Gerini (Husqvarna), with American Kawasaki rider Fred Hoess now up to third, 3m 18s behind Gerini.
In the C2 (club teams’ over-300cc) class, Kiwi champion Karl Power (Yamaha YZ450F) is still in second spot overall, but he is closing in on the leader, Sweden’s Olle Lothman (KTM).
Power is now just 2m 5s behind Lothman.
Italian rider Nicolo Mori (TM) has moved up to take third spot in the class, 3m 11s behind Power, while Slovakian Zlatko Novosad (Husqvarna) has slipped back to fourth.
Meanwhile, the third team member of the Wellard New Zealand Yamaha Club Team, Chris Power, remains steady in 12th spot overall in this class.
He was 20th in the C2 class after day one, moved up to 14th overall after day two, clawed his way to 12th position on day three and, while still in 12th place, he is now just 1m 18s behind the 11th-ranked rider, Sweden’s Emil Karlsson (KTM).
In the main contest for Senior World Trophy honours, Finland continues to lead from Spain and the United States, followed by Sweden and the Netherlands, with Eero Remes (Finland, KTM) still the top individual outright.
Remes still leads the E1 class, heading a Finnish 1-2-3 in the class, with Finnish former ISDE champion Juha Salminen (Husqvarna)(pictured above) just 1m 11s behind him and Finland’s Matti Seistola (Husqvarna) in third, another 4m 3s further back.
American Kurt Caselli (KTM) still leads the E2 class while all the action is happening behind him as Australian Matthew Phillips (Yamaha) fought back yesterday to reclaim the No.2 spot in the class and Spaniard Cristobal Guerrero (KTM) slipped back to third.
Finland’s Marko Tarkkala (Husaberg) continues to lead the E3 class, although Spain’s Ivan Cervantes (Gas Gas) made a strong bid for the top yesterday as he moved up from third to second spot.
The battle for Junior World Trophy glory heated up yesterday as Team France took over the lead from Team Sweden, followed by Great Britain, the United States and Australia.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
© Main photo by Artuu Kauranne