PWR Yamaha's Watts Takes Over The Lead After Third NZ Enduro Round

PWR Yamaha’s Tommy Watts has hit his stride in the 2023 Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships, surging forward to become the new leader after the third round.

The Tauranga-based former Wairoa rider steadily improved over the two South Island rounds in May, before completely dominating at the Akatarawa Forest in the Moonshine Valley, near Porirua, on the Sunday and Monday of King’s Birthday Weekend.

Undeterred by the constant rain and unforgiving forestry terrain over the two days, 21-year-old Watts recorded the fastest time in all of the nine tightly-timed sprint races on Sunday.

He then went on to win each of the six tests during the traditional enduro format racing held on Monday. Along with the overall round win, Watts also leads the 0-200cc two-stroke/0-300cc four-stroke class.

He summed it up as a “really good weekend.”

“It felt great to manage to win all the tests and get a good overall lead for that round. It was challenging conditions on a really technical track. It rained both days pretty much the whole time we rode, which definitely made it difficult with the hard packed conditions and terrain,” he says.

The 2021 national cross-country champion, Watts rates his 2023 Yamaha YZ250F as the best motorcycle to get the enduro job done.

“I’m stoked with the way the bike performed. It blows me away how good this motocross bike is in the enduro terrain,” he says.

It won’t be long until he is back in action on it, with the fourth and final Yamaha enduro round held this weekend in Martinborough. Watts leads Ethan McBreen by one point and as these two rivals have been neck and neck all season, it looks like the final will be a hard-fought, two-day event.

PWR Yamaha Team Manager Paul Whibley was pleased with how Watts rode in the Moonshine Valley.

“Tommy had a great weekend at the Yamaha Enduro Champ’s third round. It’s great for him to push through and take control of the overall points lead with the final weekend of racing to come. It’s going to be a close and exciting finish to the series!”

The two North Island enduro rounds are recognised as rounds one and two of the parallel-but-separate North Island Enduro Championships.

1st Tommy Watts (YZ250FX) – 1st in class,
AA - E1 0-200 2Str, 0-300 4Str
2nd Ethan McBreen
3rd Ryan Hayward

1st Tommy Watts (YZ250FX) – 1st in class, AA - E1 0-200 2Str, 0-300 4Str
2nd Ethan McBreen
3rd Bailey Basalaj

Round 1: May 6-7 - Omihi, North Canterbury
Round 2: May 13-14 - Pigeon Valley Road, Tasman
Round 3: June 4-5 - Moonshine Valley Road, near Porirua, Wellington
Round 4: June 10-11 - Martinborough