The 15-year-old Taupo racer decided to have a crack at cross-country racing at the weekend and, although it was a bit of a steep learning curve, it ultimately proved a very successful bid.
Chase took his Yamaha YZ125 to tackle the opening round of the popular annual Dirt Guide Cross-country Series on Sunday, an event that was being run in conjunction with the first round of the inaugural NZXC series at Tar Hill, just south of Tokoroa, and so it was a double-whammy campaign, with points from the one race being earned in two separate competitions.
Pahiatua’s Paul Whibley (Yamaha YZ450F) won the two-hour senior race and that failed to raise any eyebrows, but when Chase won the 90-minute junior race staged a little earlier in the day, it may have been considered something of a surprise.
Chase found he had a fight on his hands when Oparau youngster James Scott snatched the holeshot at the start, although Chase was quickly into a rhythm and found a way past Scott about halfway through the first lap.
“Lappers then started to cause me a few problems and Scott was right behind me,” Chase explained.
“Because I didn’t have experience with cross-country racing, I decided I should come into the pits and refuel each lap, just to make sure I didn’t run dry, and this gave Scott a bit of an edge because he didn’t come in every lap.”
Chase eventually finished the junior race two minutes and 43 seconds ahead of Scott (Husqvarna TC85), with Hamilton’s Lachlan Bishop (Yamaha YZ125) rounding out the podium.
“The cross-country racing was a bit slower than motocross but a lot more technical. I really enjoyed it and will probably do the rest of the NZXC series rounds,” said Chase, a year 11 pupil at Tauhara College.
Meanwhile, Whibley finished comfortably ahead of Howick motocross and enduro ace Liam Draper (Husqvarna TE125) in the senior race, with Wellington’s seven-time former national moto trials champion Jake Whitaker (Husqvarna TE250) rounding out the podium.
This was only time the two series will merge this season – round two of the NZXC series is set for Taikorea, near Palmerston North, on July 18 and round two of the Dirt Guide Series is set for Ohakuri, near Tokoroa, on August 9 – although many riders have indicated they will tackle both competitions.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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