Paterson (Blackwood Yamaha YZ125), a year 11 pupil at Cambridge High School, is 53 points clear of Havelock North's Tom Hislop in the junior series standings.However, only six of the series' seven score are counted, with riders to discard their one worst score, but, even when the scores are adjusted, it puts Paterson still 33 points ahead of Hislop, with the third-best rider, Taupo's Wil Yeoman, just two points further back. A solid 25 points are available for a win and two rounds remain, so anything is still possible and a non-finish would be a disaster for any of these riders. With a strong runner-up finish in the annual Motomuck 90 cross-country race near Taupo last month, the 15-year-old Paterson is showing impressive form at the moment.
In just the same way that Paterson commands the junior grade, it is a similar story for Taikorea's Paul Whibley in the senior grade. The former Kiwi international is a massive 18 points ahead of nearest rival and fellow Yamaha ace Callan May, of Titirangi, with a third Yamaha rider, Cambridge's Ashton Grey, in third, although only another eight points further back in the series standings. Whibley, the two-time former United States cross-country champion and New Zealand cross-country champion in 2015, will be taking nothing for granted, although he knows it is his to lose. With riders discarding their one worst result, it puts Whibley in an extremely strong position indeed, with his worst result thus far a runner-up finish.
He finished second to Howick's Liam Draper at the previous round at Matata last month, but that was Draper's first appearance in the series this year because injury had kept him sidelined. Whibley will no doubt be keen to "rectify" things in the Woodhill Forest next weekend. The seventh and final round is set for Pahiatua on December 3.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan