But that’s exactly what the young man from Oparau did in his enduro debut this season, turning heads as he continually defied the odds in achieving top-five results.
The motocross star’s first full enduro national campaign (after only dabbling in the sport in 2020) was quite remarkable and, after three of five rounds completed this year, he was perfectly placed to garner an overall podium finish for the series.
But then things turned to custard for the brave Honda man and a couple of uncharacteristic crashes over the final two rounds in the Wairarapa region at the weekend – near Masterton on Saturday and then near Martinborough on Sunday – resulted in the enduro rookie slipping back and having to accept fourth overall for 2021.
But that’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of, quite the contrary.
Teenager Scott is not yet renowned for enduro racing, although that has surely now changed, judging by his outstanding performances through this year’s national championships.
The 19-year-old took his Honda CRF250 to finish runner-up at the 2021 New Zealand Motocross Championships, which wrapped up in Taupo in late March, and then immediately decided to take a 2021-model Honda CRF450X enduro bike and tackle the enduro nationals, “just for the fun of it”.
Scott’s rookie enduro campaign was storming along, especially in the early phases.
He finished fourth overall at round one near Tokoroa in April, placed runner-up at round two in Marlborough two weeks later and finished the weekend third overall at round four in the Moonshine Valley, between Upper Hutt and Porirua, just over a week ago.
But he finished an uncharacteristic 30th overall, after losing a massive 33 minutes because of a bent sprocket, at Martinborough on Sunday and this cost him dearly. That setback saw him slip from third to fourth overall in the final series standings.
Scott was impressive nonetheless as he rode a 450cc bike for the first time this season and showed great courage and strength to keep the enduro top-guns honest, particularly considering it was his debut season contesting a dirt bike code that he was largely unfamiliar with.
“I had a little bit of bad luck at the weekend,” said Scott in classic understatement.
“A rock flicked up and bent my sprocket and it took ages to get that sorted. I wasn’t hurt but my chances (of winning) were.
“My main goal this season was just to get through the series, have fun and learn some new skills. I achieved all those aims, so I’m satisfied with that,” he said.
A highlight of the enduro rookie’s campaign this year was his winning the second of two days in Marlborough in April, although he did eventually have to accept being credited with overall runner-up for this two-day event in the South Island.
Cambridge’s Dylan Yearbury (Husqvarna FE350) and Helensville’s Tom Buxton (KTM 350EXC-F) had between them shared most of the winning this season, Yearbury eventually winning the title outright, Buxton finishing overall runner-up and Whanganui’s Seth Reardon (Yamaha YZ250FX) overtook the luckless Scott during the Wairarapa weekend, snatching away the No.3 spot.
“I learned plenty by doing the enduro nationals,” said Scott. “It’s a lot different from motocross and you don’t just race full-throttle and go nuts like you do in motocross. You’ve got to preserve the bike a bit and use your brains more to read the terrain and pick good lines.
“I’d like to race the enduro champs next year now. The bike was great and I really felt I learned a lot. I’ll be aiming for top three next year for sure.”
Scott finished third overall in the battle for over-301cc 4-stroke class honours, behind Yearbury and Buxton.
Meanwhile, another young man to impress this season was Taupo’s Wil Yeoman (Yamaha YZ125X), the just-turned 16-year-old finishing fifth overall and just one point behind Scott in the enduro series final standings.
He also convincingly won the under-200cc 2-stroke class this year.
Unlike Scott, he does have plenty of previous experience racing enduro and cross-country events. In fact he was crowned New Zealand Junior Cross-country Champion earlier this season.
But what is remarkable is the fact that he raced a 125cc bike in the enduro series and, at such a young age, he clearly has a long and bright future still ahead of him.
Yeoman finished 11th overall in the pandemic-shortened 2020 enduro nationals, his best result that season a sixth overall, and he finished third overall in 2020 in the combined under-200 2-stroke and under-300cc 4-stroke class.
© Main photo, above, by Kat Gunson, BikesportNZ.com
Words and additional photos by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
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