The Yamaha rider had not contested the first two rounds of the Dirt Guide Cross-country Series but he certainly showed up ready for battle at the third and final round in forestry near Tokoroa on Sunday, moving through the field to eventually win the 90-minute junior race by more than a minute from fellow Yamaha star Wil Yeoman.
Sunday's racing doubled also as the first round of six in the parallel-but-separate Yamaha NZXC Series and so, although his non-participation at rounds one and two of the Dirt Guide Series meant Codd (Yamaha YZ125) could not hope to win that competition outright, it was obviously the perfect start to his NZXC campaign. The 15-year-old Codd, a year 11 pupil at Napier Boys' High School, said Sunday's racing was "extremely challenging". "I was about third out of turn one and took over the lead about halfway through the first lap. It was very slippery and I got a bit loose at times, my goggles fogged up and I bashed both my shoulders into trees during the race," he said, revealing dark bruises on his upper arms. "My aim is to win the Yamaha NZXC Series and this is the perfect start for me. I missed this series last year, but I rode at 85cc bike in 2016, winning the first four rounds before I switched to the 125cc bike. Because I changed classes halfway through, it meant I couldn't really win the series overall, but I did still manage to finish 85cc class runner-up. "I think I rode pretty average today actually," he said. "I made too many mistakes and dropped the bike, but I was far enough in front that I lost sight of the riders chasing me." Taupo's Yeoman (Yamaha YZ125) had won the junior races at both the previous rounds of the Dirt Guide Series and his runner-up finish on Sunday meant he comfortably wrapped up the overall series' trophy for the juniors. Meanwhile, Ararimu's Richard Sutton (Yamaha YZ125) clinched the senior trophy for the Dirt Guide Series with another solid performance on Sunday, finishing then day third overall, behind Titirangi's Callan May (Yamaha YZ240FX) and Wainuiomata's Jake Whitaker (KTM 300XC). Sutton had finished fourth overall at round one of the Dirt Guide Series in May and then runner-up at round two last month, his consistency throughout the series giving him the outright win.
All of these riders will also be looking ahead to tackling the rest of the Yamaha NZXC Series. The Yamaha NZXC Series continues at Taikorea, near Palmerston North, on August 5; the Woodhill Forest on September 2; Matata on October 13; then Woodhill again, on November 10, and it finally wraps up at Waimiha on December 8.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan