But, a never-say-die attitude from the Husqvarna man was enough for him to complete the task he’d set himself when forced to settle for overall runner-up at last season’s COVID-19 pandemic-shortened New Zealand Enduro Championships … and that was to fight back and win it in 2021.
Yearbury (Husqvarna FE350) was in command after the first three of five rounds in this year’s championships, having compiled a 2-1-1 score-sheet from the events in Tokoroa and the Marlborough and Porirua/Upper Hutt regions respectively, and he arrived in the Wairarapa Region for the final two back-to-back rounds at the weekend in a confident mood.
Yearbury finished runner-up to his main title rival Tommy Buxton (KTM 350EXC-F) at round four on farmland near Masterton on Saturday and was still the favourite to go on and wrap it up on similar terrain near Martinborough the following day.
But a high-speed crash during Sunday’s fifth and final round very nearly shattered his dreams.
“I had a huge crash and the impact of that cracked the bike’s rear sub-frame.
“I knew it was risky to carry on with the bike damaged like that, but I didn’t have a lot of choice,” said the 26-year-old Cambridge builder.
“The crash was in the day’s first ‘special test’ and it stunned me a bit.
“I struggled to get a flow going with my riding after that. I went okay, but not brilliant.”
But even when Yearbury is not at his best, he’s still a lot better than so many others in the competition and he managed to end the day at Martinborough third overall of the 65 starters, finishing behind Whanganui’s Seth Reardon (Yamaha YZ250FX) and Buxton.
Fortunately for Yearbury, this was easily enough for him to get the job done and he could therefore celebrate winning his first national enduro championships outright.
Buxton finished the series runner-up, with Reardon, Oparau’s James Scott (Honda CRF450X) and Taupo’s Wil Yeoman (Yamaha YZ125X) rounding out the top five.
Yearbury’s finish tally for the series was 2-1-1-2-3, while Buxton’s was 1-3-2-1-2 and Reardon scored 9-4-4-4-1 finishes.
Yearbury also added icing to his cake by claiming the over-301cc four-stroke class win.
He is current and two-time winner of the parallel-but-separate New Zealand Extreme Off-Road Championships, but never the enduro nationals and that’s probably largely due to his competing overseas in past years.
With COVID putting a crimp on international travel, it’s likely we’ll see Yearbury’s name feature a little more regularly at home.
2021 New Zealand Enduro Championships.
Cambridge’s 1. Dylan Yearbury (Husqvarna) 164 points; 2. Helensville’s Tom Buxton (KTM) 156; 3. Whanganui’s Seth Reardon (Yamaha) 127; 4. Oparau’s James Scott (Honda) 114; 5. Taupo’s Wil Yeoman (Yamaha) 113.
The various class winners:
Cambridge’s Dylan Yearbury (Husqvarna, expert over-301cc 4-stroke class);
Whanganui’s Seth Reardon (Yamaha, expert under-300cc 4-stroke class);
Cambridge’s Aston Grey (Yamaha, expert over-201cc 2-stroke class);
Taupo’s Wil Yeoman (Yamaha, expert under-200cc 2-stroke class);
Tokoroa’s Sean Clarke (Husqvarna, expert veterans over-40 years class)
Auckland’s Julia Williams (KTM, women’s class);
Whangarei’s Joshua Alexander (KTM, intermediate over-201cc 2-stroke and over 301cc 4-stroke class);
Rotorua’s Harrison McClintock (KTM, intermediate under-200cc 2-stroke and under 300cc 4-stroke class);
Te Awamutu’s Phil Gibson (Husqvarna, intermediate veterans 40-49 years class);
Masterton’s George Callaghan (Yamaha, intermediate 50-54 years class);
Putaruru’s Phil Skinner (Husqvarna, intermediate veterans over-55 years class).
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
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