But Whangamata’s Jason Davis made it look effortless when he won round two of the KTM Extreme Enduro Series in the Riverhead Forest, near Auckland, at the weekend.
National enduro champion Chris Birch, from Auckland, took his KTM 350XCF to win the opening round of the five-round series, The Nut Buster Hard Enduro near Christchurch, in late September, but overseas racing commitments kept him away from round two on Sunday, leaving the path clear for another rider to dominate.
And that’s where Davis stepped in on Sunday, charging through the field after a poor start to eventually take the lead on the third lap.
“It was quite dusty in the forest, so it wasn’t easy seeing where I was going some of the time,” said Davis.
Auckland pair Mike Skinner (KTM 250 XCF) and Liam Draper (Husaberg TE 125) kept Davis on his toes and, even when he was in clear air out front, the man from the Coromandel Peninsular could not afford to take it easy.
“I had to skip round one because of my injury,” Davis explained. “I needed my right knee to be reconstructed and this was my first ride back since that operation.
“I’m still not 100 percent fit but I’m getting stronger each day,” said the 25-year-old forestry worker.
“Riders are able to drop a round, so with me missing round one, it might not be too much of a problem.”
Series organiser Sean Clarke (KTM 300 EXC), of Tokoroa, finished fourth outright with Wellington’s Jake Whittaker (Husaberg FE250) right behind him in fifth position at the finish.
In the expert grade, young local rider Tommy Buxton finished first, with Raglan’s Dylan Yearbury close behind in second, while Cambridge’s Taylor Grey snatched third place from young South Island brothers Hamish and Angus McDonald, from West Melton, who settled for fourth and fifth respectively.
In the clubman class, Tokoroa’s Vince Steiner won ahead of Thames rider Natasha Cairns.
With two different winners after two rounds thus far, the series could turn into a real nail-biter by the time of the final round, the two-day No Way In Hell extreme enduro in April.
The third round of five in the KTM Extreme Enduro series is set for Tokoroa on December 7, at the Tokoroa A&P Show.
The series is sponsored by KTM New Zealand, Motorex, Kiwi Rider, Dirt Guide, Michelin Tyres, Satco, Forest Trail Events and Maungapapa Angus.
2013 KTM Extreme Enduro Series calendar:
Round 1: September 28 – Nut Buster Hard Enduro
Round 2: November 17 – Riverhead 100
Round 3: December 7 – Tokoroa Enduro X
Round 4: February 8 – Te Puke Enduro X
Round 5: April 20 and 21 – No Way In Hell
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com