Titirangi’s Callan May is enjoying a mid-summer break in the United States at the moment, but he knows it’s just the calm before the storm as he braces for the final thrust of his 2015 Grand National Cross-country Championship campaign.
The Grand National Cross-country Championship (GNCC) season resumes again in just a couple of weeks’ time when the riders head to Unadilla in New York State for the tenth round of 13 in the series and Titirangi’s May hopes he can pick up the pace from where he left off at round nine in West Virginia in June.
With just four rounds remaining in the 2015 season, Yamaha’s May is positioned at 10th overall in the XC2 (250cc) class after mixed results thus far that have seen him celebrate some terrific highs, but also some terrible lows.
He kicked off his campaign in Florida back in March with an 18th placing in his class, not the sort of result he wanted after producing such a sensational sixth overall finish on debut in the US the previous season.
May was in a better mood after finishing 9-9-7 in the three rounds that followed, before suffering another slump, crossing the finish line in 16th place at round five at Springville, Indiana.
He finished 10-13-5 at the next three rounds and then struggled to 15th place in the XC2 class at round nine, just before the mid-summer break and, although considered too hot for the GNCC to continue at pace, it didn’t really mean May would be lying back with his feet up on a beer chiller.
“Having a break over the past two months has been awesome, but I’ve still be riding to keep sharp,” he said, despite the fact that temperatures are up around 33 degrees Celsius in the middle of the day.
“During this time I moved into (Australian rider) Josh Strang‘s place in North Carolina which has been great to train with him over the summer months. The team I ride for is based in Indiana, so I spent three weeks up there testing and doing a few local races.
“I raced a Mid West cross country race in Sandstone, Indiana, and came away with my first win of the year, which was a great feeling. I then carried the momentum on to the next weekend and raced another Indiana local called IXCR.
“This race had a lot more competition, with around 20 pros on the line, which is big for a local race. It was by far one of the most enjoyable races I have done this year, with an awesome track. This also showed in my results, with me getting myself another win, which was an awesome feeling.
“That then ended my stint in Indiana and I headed back down to North Carolina to get back to training full time. This training included me racing two North Carolina hare scrambles events, which were both in Union, South Carolina, on separate weekends.
“In the first race I placed third behind Jason Thomas and Trevor Barrett and, in the second race, I came second behind Trevor Barrett, with (Japanese rider) Takeshi Koikedia third. These results have found me on the podium more than I have all year before that.
“This, along with training alongside Jason Thomas and Josh Strang, gives me confidence going into the last four rounds of the GNCC series. I can’t wait to get racing again.”
American riders Thomas, Ricky Russell and Craig DeLong lead the XC2 class GNCC standings, but May is only 50 points behind the rider in fifth spot, Trevor Bollinger, and, with four rounds to go, he believes he can break back into the top five or six.
May is following in the wheel tracks of fellow Kiwi international Paul Whibley, who twice won the GNCC outright (in 2009 and 2012) before the Manawatu rider retired from international competition at the end of last season.
May is supported by Yamaha Motor New Zealand, Kiwi Rider magazine, BikesportNZ.com, MotoSR, Golden Tyres, Fox, Graphic Creation, GYTR and Yamalube.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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