PWR Yamaha Riders Clinch Three Class Titles At Cross Country Champs Decider

When the mud settled on Sunday at the end of the fourth and final 2022 New Zealand Cross country Championships’ round at Porangahau, three Paul Whibley Racing (PWR) Yamaha team riders were holding class-winning silverware.

Although last year’s winner Napier-based Tommy Watts was unable to defend his national senior cross country title in 2022, he still rode his YZ250FX to first in class in the 4 Stroke Under category.

Watts says he was pleased to hold onto his class victory after a “very challenging day” on the Central Hawkes Bay course.

“Once again I got another terrible start, which didn’t help, having to come from the back. I was struggling all day to stay on the bike and kept sliding out. It was very muddy and slippery,” he says.

Watts ended up fourth overall for the round, one position ahead of his PWR teammate Seth Reardon and second overall in the championship. 

“My bike went well and I was very happy with it in very challenging conditions,” he says.

Topping off a stellar debut season in the senior grade, Taupo’s Wil Yeoman finished second overall for the fourth round and third overall behind Watts in the series. The up-and-coming youngster convincingly won his 2 Stroke Over class from fellow Yamaha YZ250X rider Richard Sutton.

Recently-turned 17-year-old Yeoman says he was “happy with yesterday’s result after a gnarly three hours in the mud.”

“I really enjoyed riding my YZ250X. The Michelin Starcross 5 soft tyres hooked up well in the slippery conditions. Thank you to the landowners for another great track in the national series.”

“Thank you also to Chris Smythe for making the 2022 championship happen and to the clubs and their volunteers,” Yeoman says.

PWR’s Charlotte Russ achieved a clean sweep of four women’s class round wins on her YZ125 to take home the overall trophy for her category.

Whanganui’s Reardon achieved a top five overall result for the PWR team on Sunday, after making his way through the pack following a slow start.

“I battled for fourth position until I came off in a mud bog. Then I managed to get a good flow on and push to the end coming away with fifth overall and third in class for the day,” Reardon says.

He finished fifth outright for the 2022 championship in the 4 Stroke Over class.

Team Manager Paul Whibley says: “I’m really proud of how the PWR Yamaha team performed over the national cross country series.”

“Tommy, Wil and Charlotte picked up class championships and Ethan Harris was fourth in the 4 Stroke Over class, with Seth close behind him in fifth for the season.”

“It was a tough final with a pretty greasy track but the team finished out the season strong with Wil being a standout taking second overall. In his first season as a senior Wil has really stepped it up,” Whibley says.

The PWR Yamaha team will now focus on the three-round New Zealand Enduro Championship which begins next month and the events will be held in quick succession on June 4, 6 and 12. Then the riders will compete in the MotoSR GNCC Series from August onwards.

Watts and Yeoman will join the 2022 cross country series winner James Scott in the New Zealand junior team heading to the 2022 International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in southern France, from August 29 to September 3. Reardon is also travelling to France as the trophy team reserve.

Yamaha Motor New Zealand Motorsport Manager Josh Coppins thanked the PWR team for their efforts in the Yamaha-sponsored cross country series.

“It was a great cross country series for us winning three classes and having a lot of Yamaha representation in all categories and particularly the outright top 10, which was dominated by Yamaha riders.”