The 2021 New Zealand Enduro Championships opener went down to the wire on Sunday with Helensville’s Tom Buxton winning this first round of five in the Yamaha-sponsored series.
His main threat for the day, Cambridge’s Dylan Yearbury, was just 25 seconds slower overall after roughly six hours of riding on the damp, steep and treacherous pine forest course.
Third best rider on the day was Palmerston North’s Paul Whibley, who finished just over a minute behind Yearbury, with Oparau teenager James Scott and Wainuiomata’s record eight-time former New Zealand trials champion Jake Whitaker rounding out the top five finishers.
In terms of capturing an individual class title, riders are able to discard their one worst result, ensuring the chase for class titles will be tight until the end, but all rounds are counted towards the championship overall and so Buxton obviously now has the early advantage.
For Buxton to beat Yearbury was certainly a significant achievement.
Yearbury had finished overall runner-up in the pandemic-shortened enduro championships last season – on that occasion finishing behind fellow Kiwi international Hamish Macdonald, the Christchurch man currently racing overseas and therefore a non-starter at Tokoroa on Sunday.
Yearbury had also arrived at Tokoroa in top form. He had been the overall winner of the elite gold section of the Schist Enduro-X near Wanaka over the Easter Weekend and he was the New Zealand Extreme Off-Road Championships winner last year.
But Buxton was in imperious form too on Sunday and was fastest in three of the five tightly-timed “terrain tests” and equal quickest with Yearbury in one of the others. Yearbury was quickest in just one of these special tests.
“It was a massive turn-out of riders here. It’s great to see such a positive and strong start to the season,” said Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Justin Stevenson.
“It shows the sport is in a pretty healthy state. What I saw of the track looked great too and I’m sure all the riders would have enjoyed racing it.”
Round two of the series will be a two-dayer in Marlborough, on April 24-25.
The 2021 Yamaha NZ Enduro Championships are supported by Mitas tyres, Macaulay Metals, Best Build Construction, Silver-bullet and Kiwi Rider magazine.
2021 Yamaha NZ Enduro Champs calendar:
Round 1 – Saturday, April 11 – Tokoroa;
Round 2 – Saturday and Sunday, April 24-25 – Marlborough;
Round 3 – Saturday and Sunday June 5-6 – Moonshine, Kapi-Mana;
Round 4 – Saturday, June 12 – Masterton;
Round 5 – Sunday, June 13 – Martinborough.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
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