Nobody wishes to jinx the reigning national champion with statements like that, but with two wins from two starts in this year’s compressed three-round series, it really is hard to look past Husqvarna-mounted Yearbury to find the likely champion for 2022.
The 27-year-old builder from Cambridge is wisely taking nothing for granted, however, and he won’t be celebrating consecutive title wins until he shuts down the engine on his distinctive white Husqvarna TE300 at the end of the third and final round in the Wairarapa region this coming weekend.
Rounds one and two of the rapid-fire 2022 series were staged back-to-back over the long Queen’s Birthday Weekend – round one near Whanganui on Saturday and round two near Porirua on Monday – and all that now remains for Yearbury is for him to stay out of trouble at the final showdown near Martinborough this coming Sunday (June 12).
Yearbury won both days over the Queen’s Birthday weekend, finishing ahead of Palmerston North’s Paul Whibley (Yamaha) and Taupo’s Brad Groombridge (Beta) on Saturday and then edging out Taupo’s Wil Yeoman (Yamaha) and Kaukapakapa’s Josh Jack (Kawasaki) on Monday.
With his 1-1 score-card thus far, Yearbury can probably afford to ease up a bit on the throttle, although that’s not in the man’s nature.
He is using the national championships as a build-up for his International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) campaign in France in August-September, where he will again be racing alongside a batch of fellow Kiwi dirt bike heroes, only this time as team-mates rather than rivals.
The ISDE, regarded as the “Olympic Games of dirt bike racing”, will again attract the sport’s elite from all around the world and the intrepid New Zealanders have plans to be among the leading bunch.
“It all went according to plan at Whanganui and Porirua … I had two reasonably good days,” Yearbury said, in classic understatement.
“I’m not 100 percent fit, after taking the past six months or so off racing because of work commitments, but my fitness will improve. It has to really, with the trip to France close on the horizon.
“I’m actually heading to Italy in just over a week’s time to continue my build-up there. It’s now only two months before the ISDE and I really want to do it properly.
“I’m loving the bike. It’s a 2022-model Husqvarna TE300 two-stroke and hasn’t skipped a beat for me. I’m feeling confident ahead of the Martinborough event … it’s always nice riding there.”
With only two of the three rounds to be counted in the battle for individual class honours, it transpires that Yearbury already has the over-300cc two-stroke class title in his grip.
Similarly, Whibley has already wrapped up the veterans’ over-40 years class and Yeoman the under-300cc four-stroke class.
In addition, two more Husqvarna riders can also claim New Zealand titles with a round to spare – New Plymouth’s Sam Parker has captured the under-200cc two-stroke class title and Omihi’s Ethan McBreen has pocketed the over-300cc four-stroke class title.
Icing on the cake for Yearbury would be for him to clinch the main prize, by winning the series outright in just a few days’ time.
2022 NZ Enduro Champs calendar:
Round 1 – Saturday, June 4 – Whanganui;
Round 2 – Queen’s Birthday Monday, June 6 – Porirua;
Round 3 – Sunday, June 12 – Martinborough.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
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