Rounds three and four were held over consecutive days, with the tricky trails in the Santoft forest, near Bulls, in the Manawatu, testing the riders to their limits. Upping the ante was the presence of current 125cc Youth Enduro World Champion Hamish Macdonald, who would usually be racing overseas but due to Covid-19 is competing on home soil instead.
Despite the best efforts of PWR Yamaha’s Seth Reardon, who had hoped to back up his 2019 national enduro victory, Macdonald claimed his first New Zealand title yesterday. Whanganui’s Reardon battled hard on his Yamaha YZ250FX to win his AA E1 class and finish up as 3NZ overall, behind former champion Dylan Yearbury, who was second.
Reardon described the conditions as a “tough two days riding on mainly tight sandy pine tree trails which roughed up a lot by Sunday.”
He was disappointed not to get the result he wanted, especially after a promising first two rounds where he placed third in Masterton and first in Martinborough, over the two consecutive days of racing in mid-June.
“Both days this past weekend, I made a few mistakes, which cost me some time but I managed to place second in class both days. I got a podium finish overall for the series giving me 3NZ and first in my class,” Reardon says.
Former international cross country star and PWR Team Manager Taikorea’s Paul Whibley wasn’t just coaching from the sidelines – and rode his Yamaha YZ450FX to second in the AA – E3 (301-Open 4-Stroke) class.
“The bike handled the conditions so well. The YZ450FX ran so good in the deep sand. Overall it was a fun race. There were a lot of tree stumps in the terrain test but as the days wore on, the tracks got tougher and the stumps became more exposed and more visible,” Whibley says.
He was proud of his Yamaha team and described youngster Wil Yeoman’s performance in Saturday’s third round as a “break out day” where he achieved a stunning second in the AA – E1 (0-200 2-Stroke, 0-300 4-Stroke) class and 6th overall.
Taupo-based Yeoman, who has just turned 15-years-old, was stoked with his Day 1 result, which included a third fastest time in the final special test on his Yamaha YZ125X.
“The tracks were gnarly and we were having to avoid stumps. Day 2 in the sand wore the body out and I made a couple of early mistakes. However, I was happy with my overall result and with my third place in class for the championship,” Yeoman says.
Yamaha Motor New Zealand Motorsport Manager Josh Coppins attended the Manawatu-based final rounds and enjoyed watching the PWR Yamaha team and the brand achieving some top results.
“We had great Yamaha representation and the highlight was our clean sweep of the under 300 class. We had Seth winning, online motorcycle magazine Kiwi Rider’s test rider James Scott second on the Yamaha YZ125X he rode as a one-off and Wil in third,” Coppins says.
An ex-international motocross GP legend, Coppins was happy to see the enduro riders being able to compete again.
“The motorbike racing world will be quite envious because not many international championships are continuing at the moment, so to have the level of riders that we did back here in New Zealand and to be able to run was great,” Coppins adds.
The PWR Yamaha team is waiting to see what the cross country nationals may look like if they get rescheduled. In the meantime the riders have a few more events on the calendar.
“We are contesting the NZ GNCC series, where Seth won the first round. The Dirt Guide series, where I won the first round, has two more rounds to go and the three-round Motomuck Woodhill Series starts this weekend in Auckland. We also have the Hard Enduro Series starting soon, where the team will contest selected rounds, so the remainder of 2020 is going to be busy,” Whibley says.