It's never easy racing dirt bikes at speed across unknown terrain, but Auckland's Callan May was in the enviable position of being able to take it easy in the King Country on Saturday. The 26-year-old from Titirangi had done all the hard work already, winning the first two rounds of the Yamaha NZXC Series and accepting runner-up finishes at the three rounds that followed, his consistently high results meaning he arrived at the sixth and final round of the competition near Waimiha on Saturday with a massive mathematical advantage.
Second in the points standings at the start of the day was fellow Yamaha YZ250FX rider Seth Reardon, his 9-4-4-5-6 score-card over the previous five rounds meaning he needed something of a miracle if he was to have any hope of surpassing May's points tally. In the end, May battled through traffic to claim third overall on Saturday, while Whanganui's Reardon posted his worst result of the series, 20th position, and this actually allowed Ararimu's Richard Sutton (Yamaha YZ125) to sneak through and steal second place for the series overall. Reardon had to be satisfied with third overall for the series. Helensville's Tom Buxton won the day at Waimiha, finishing nearly four minutes ahead of Cambridge rider Dylan Yearbury, with May just under one minute behind him. "I didn't have to win today ... I wanted to, of course, always do ... but there was no real pressure today," said May. "I didn't get the best of starts, which doesn't help things. The track was tough and it was pretty hard work over that first lap. This one and the Riverhead Forest round would have been the toughest events for me this year. "I'm pretty happy with my result, to be honest. I went hard for the first lap and got in front of the guys I wanted to beat. I was about last off the start line and then got tangled on the first hill, having to push the bike up it. "I've gone from having really good start to having the worst starts in the world. It's something I need to work on."
Next competition for May is to tackle the New Zealand Cross-country Championships, which will kick off in the New Year. Meanwhile, Taupo’s Wil Yeoman took his Yamaha YZ125 to win the junior grade race on Saturday and also wrap up the NZXC Series overall, with Tirau’s Alex Butler and Morrinsville’s Liam Calley completing the junior grade podium for the series.
The Yamaha NZXC Series is supported by Yamaha Motor New Zealand, PWR Yamaha, Arai, TCX, Oakley, G2, Asterisk, MotoSR, Vortex Ignitions, EC3D, Bush Riders MCC, Rosscos Start Up Services, Dirt Guide, Tire Balls, Renthal, BikesportNZ.com, CarbSport, FMF, Michelin, Yamalube CV4 GYTR, IMS, ONeal, Rekluse, Workshop Graphics and Motomuck.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan.