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Yamaha Pair Chase Dirt Guide Series Glory

The smart money will possibly be on Yamaha duo Ethan Harris and Wil Yeoman at round two of the Dirt Guide Cross-country Series near Tokoroa this Sunday.

These two riders were the day's main winners at round one of the series last month, Rotorua Yamaha man Harris taking a borrowed bike to win the two-hour senior race and Taupo's Yeoman taking his Yamaha YZ125 to win the 90-minute junior race that was held earlier in the day. It's the second of three rounds of the popular competition this weekend, set for the same Ohakuri venue, in forestry about halfway between Taupo and Tokoroa, and it is guaranteed be another thriller.

More than 100 riders lined up for the senior race at round one and, just as race organiser Sean Clarke had predicted during the earlier riders' briefing, someone was going to win that had not really won a big race before and he was right, with Harris taking the win by nearly two minutes from Cambridge Yamaha rider Ashton Grey. Grey put up a good fight, fighting through traffic after a bad start to take second overall. Whitianga's Blake Wilkins snatched third overall, passing Drury rider Richard Sutton within sight of the finish line. Te Awamutu's Rachel Archer was also impressive that day – she failed to quickly start her 250 four-stroke bike and, by the time she got going, she was 20 seconds behind the entire field. Archer rode the wheels off her bike, finishing eighth overall, just behind her father, veterans' class rider Kevin Archer. In the juniors it was a great battle for the win between Yeoman and fellow Yamaha YZ125 rider Daniel Refoy, from Whangaparoa's, a tussle that went down to the wire with Yeoman taking the win by less than two minutes. Now into its 10th year and continuing to grow, the secret for the Dirt Guide Series' success is that it caters for young and old alike and, while it does offer something to tempt the less-experienced novice and junior riders, it is also a challenge for the more serious and highly-competitive senior racers.

The series will have nudged past the halfway stage by late Sunday afternoon and the third and final round of the series is set for July 22, also at Ohakuri. The final round doubles up as the opening round of the parallel-but-separate NZXC cross-country series, that Yamaha-backed competition piggy-backing onto select major events throughout the North Island.

The Dirt Guide Series is sponsored by Michelin, Bel Ray, Renthal, O’Neal, DRC, Zeta, Kiwi Rider magazine, Oakley, TCX boots, Yoshimura and Forest Trail Events and SatCo Logging Equipment.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan