A relaxing Easter weekend overindulging in chocolate wasn’t on the cards for the Paul Whibley Racing (PWR) Yamaha team, which competed in two, tough and tiring national cross country rounds over the annual break.
Held on Saturday, round two was run near Pahiatua, and then yesterday the riders raced again at Dannevirke, with consistency the key factor for the top-placing PWR Yamaha team.
Defending New Zealand Champion Napier-based Tommy Watts “rode his heart out” after poor starts left him on the back foot at each of the two rounds, according to Team Manager Paul Whibley.
“Tommy was trying to chase down James Scott and keep the championship alive. He got close but had to settle for second in both rounds,” Whibley says.
Watts, who topped the 4 Stroke Under class at the two rounds, summed up his performance as “a difficult weekend for me.”
“I felt good on the YZ250FX with the fastest lap times on both days but my starts definitely let me down,” he says.
Taupo’s Wil Yeoman secured his matching results in the same successful vein, finishing third overall in both rounds and winning his 2 Stroke Over class in the process.
After getting off to a top five start at Saturday’s Tinui-based round, hosted by the Bush Riders Motorcycle Club, Yeoman had an incident in the first lap involving some other riders and dropped back to 8th.
“But I managed to regroup and get up to second at the end of the first lap. Then Tommy Watts came past so I tried hanging onto him and we battled together for a few laps before he set his sights on first. A massive thanks to the Williams family for holding the event and for an awesome track,” Yeoman says.
The third round held in Dannevirke two days later followed a similar pattern for him, with a good start and a move to second place then followed by Yeoman’s teammate Watts passing him on the third lap. The youngster settled in for the three-hour race and enjoyed the fast, open track as he powered through to another third place.
“Big thanks to the PWR race team for their support and for everyone in the pits. I have enjoyed racing the national series on the YZ250X and I’m looking forward to the final round next month,” Yeoman says.
Racing a YZ450FX, PWR Yamaha rider Ethan Harrris bucked the trend of achieving matching results and moved up a place from 5th overall and 3rd in the 4 Stroke Over class on Saturday, to 4th behind Yeoman and 2nd in class yesterday.
“Seth was solid both rounds with two 4th place in class finishes and Charlotte Russ won her Women’s class both days,” Whibley says of his team’s results.
Whanganui’s Reardon says Saturday’s Masterton round was held on a fast-paced track over farmland and “had some nice flowing mud sections as well.”
“I rode a smart race and stayed on the bike all day. I was holding 4th position until I got held up in a bog and got passed but ended up 6th overall for the day.”
“Round 3 was a similar race with some tighter sections in the mix. I got a good start and battled with fellow riders throughout the three hours and managed another 6th overall for the day,” Reardon says.
He featured among an impressive top 10 points table for the Yamaha brand, with its riders making up 7 of the top 10 placings yesterday.
The PWR Yamaha team has a month to prepare for the fourth and final round on May 14, at a yet to be confirmed venue.
Watts and Yeoman also have the 2022 International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) to work towards in late August in southern France, where they will join James Scott in the Junior Team. Reardon is a reserve rider for the Trophy Team and will travel to the town of Le Puy en Velay if one of the team members is injured beforehand.