Auckland’s Callan May has itchy feet and a little bit of racing in Australia at the weekend was just what the doctor ordered.
The 24-year-old electrician spent two seasons racing his Yamaha YZ250FX in the United States, contesting the Grand National Cross-country Championships (GNCC) in 2014 and 2015, before settling back in Titirangi late last year and he has wasted no time in showing off the strength of his new international experience.
Yamaha ace May won the opening round of the Paul Whibley-created NZXC cross-country series near Tokoroa last month, that event doubling as round one also of The Dirt Guide cross-country series – meaning he is the early leader in both competitions.
He then raced solo at the Woodhill Two-man cross-country series opener a week later, winning the event overall, before moving on to finish third outright (and he was also winner of the under-300cc four-stroke class) at the big annual Tarawera 100 cross-country marathon three weeks ago.
But the taste for more international competition meant a quick hop across the Tasman Sea at the weekend to tackle the best that Australia could throw at him.
He finished a creditable seventh overall on Saturday – and was third in the E1 class, behind Australians Jack Simpson and Riley Graham – at the seventh round of the Australian Off-Road Championships (AORC) for motorcycles in Victoria, a good, solid hit-out before he resumes his Kiwi campaign this coming weekend.
“I struggled a bit in Australia, with the sandy forest eating up a lot of horsepower. But I felt it was a pretty good result and I want to thank Yamaha Australia and Australian former AORC champion Daniel Milner for helping me out.
“No Kiwis have raced this series in Australia for a number of years, so I wasn’t sure how I would go. But now I’m set-up and ready to give it a go next year.”
May now readies himself for racing in the Woodhill Forest this weekend, the event on Sunday another double-header, signifying the second of six rounds of the NZXC series and also the second of four rounds of the Woodhill Two-man cross-country series.
“I’ll again be riding solo, so that I make the most of the opportunity to score in both series.”
Two-rider entries at Woodhill on Sunday won’t be eligible for NZXC series points.
May is the man to beat in New Zealand at the moment. He currently leads three separate series – NZXC, the Dirt Guide and the Woodhill Two-man – although he is taking nothing for granted with internationally-experienced fellow Kiwis such as Manawatu rider Whibley, a former GNCC champion in the US and former New Zealand cross-country champion, as well as 2016 national cross-country and enduro champion Brad Groombridge, of Taupo, expected to challenge hard.
“I just have to keep on keeping on,” laughed May.
May is supported by Yamaha Motor New Zealand, Kiwi Rider magazine, BikesportNZ.com, Dunlop, Forma Boots, Moose Racing, EKS brand goggles, Graphic Creations, City Electrix, Construct Now, Muc-Off, Renthal and Carbsport.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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