Whanganui Rider Reardon Tastes First Blood
The annual five-round off-road motorcycle series kicked off near Waipukurau on Sunday with a huge assembly of New Zealand's leading motocross, cross-country and enduro racers on the 79-rider start line, but it was Reardon and his 2019-model Yamaha YZ250FX bike who stole the show, winning the two-hour senior race by 40 seconds from Glen Murray's Sam Brown, with Taupo's Nathan Tesselaar, Pahiatua's Charles Alabaster and Eketahuna's Charlie Richardson rounding out the top five.
Masterton man Allan Gannon, who was outright winner of the series last season, had to settle for 11th overall on Sunday, behind Dannevirke Yamaha rider Ben Paterson and just ahead of Palmerston North's James Galpin. Meanwhile, Feilding's Hugh Lintott (Yamaha YZ450FX), entered as an "over-45 years mega veteran" class rider, was best of the intermediate grade contestants, finishing the day a creditable eighth overall. "I really gelled with the track. It was fast but I liked it," said race winner Reardon, a 20-year-old apprentice engineer. "I didn't get a great start ... I was about eighth into the first corner. But I was up to second position during that opening lap, just behind the leader, Charles Alabaster. "I passed Charles on lap two and then opened up a bit of a gap over him, which I maintained until the finish. My dad was acting as my pit crew and he told me I could ease up a bit near the end and just cruise to the finish. "It really looked like a track that would favour the bigger 350cc and 450cc bike riders, but I had my bike screaming and that was obviously fast enough. "I have been getting better and better each time I ride and I think that's because of all the training I have been doing. I go to the gym three or four times a week and ride as much as I can at the Whanganui club's motocross track." Winner of the 90-minute junior race that was held earlier in the day was Eltham's Adam Loveridge, finishing ahead of Napier's Bryn Codd and Masterton's Joe Falloon.
The riders now rest up and prepare for round two of the series, set for Woodville on December 16. It was an extremely busy and productive weekend for Reardon. On Saturday he raced his way to fifth overall (and second in class) at the fifth round of six in the Yamaha NZXC Series in the Riverhead Forest, west of Auckland. "That wasn't a bad day for me either," he smiled. "I always want to win, but I can't complain with that. "I had a few crashes in the mud, but nothing major. I guess if you don't crash now and again you're just not trying hard enough eh? "Also, big lump of mud was knocked into the tank when I pitted for fuel and I thought it was all over for me. I crossed my fingers and decided just to press on. The bike lasted the whole race and I cleaned out the fuel tank before Sunday's race." The next round of the NZXC Series is set for Waimiha, in the King Country, on December 8.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan