Entries were huge for perhaps two main reasons: Firstly, because this was one of the first major dirt bike events happening after the country had been in lock-down due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and, secondly, this was a typical Sean Clarke-organised event, with the track perfectly marked and offering something exciting for all levels of ability.
Whangamata’s Ethan Jameson won the 90-minute junior race, crossing the finish line ahead of Oparau’s Hunter Scott and Rotorua’s Daniel Bates, while Manawatu’s Paul Whibley won the two-hour senior race, heading off Cambridge’s Dylan Yearbury and Whanganui’s Seth Reardon.
The senior race really did feature a Who’s Who of Kiwi dirt biking talent, with current and former national champions and even internationally-respected riders in the starting line-up.
The 42-year-old Whibley, a two-time former Grand National Cross-country Champion in the United States, seemed to have his work cut out early on as Reardon shot out to an impressive lead, leaving Whibley to battle back and forth between second and third with former national extreme enduro champion Yearbury.
“I got a good start,” said Whibley. “Dylan took the holeshot and set a blistering pace. I went down halfway through the lap and Seth passed me.
“I thought those two were well gone but, late in the race, I caught Dylan and we both passed Seth. Later we learned that Seth had crashed and damaged his bike.
“On the last lap I was right behind Dylan. We pushed hard and swapped the lead a few times over the last lap until I made it stick and pulled a little gap by the flag. I was stoked to take the win. The track was really good.”
The next round of the series is set for the same venue at Ohakuri on Saturday, July 18, with the final round, also at Ohakuri, on Saturday, August 15.
For each of these events, a trail ride will be held at the same venue the following day (Sunday).
The popularity of The Dirt Guide Series has grown steadily since its beginnings in 2008 and, with separate trails and several different grades incorporated into the day’s racing, catering for all levels of confidence and ability.
The Dirt Guide Series is sponsored by Michelin, Bel Ray, Renthal, O’Neal, DRC, Zeta, Kiwi Rider magazine, Oakley goggles, Ogio, TCX boots, Yoshimura, Forest Trail Events and SatCo Logging Equipment.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
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