2020 Yamaha Extreme Off-Road Championships
It’s two rounds complete and two different winners thus far for the 2020 Yamaha New Zealand Extreme Off-road Championships, the series reaching the halfway stage near Whangamata on Saturday.
With two of four rounds now in the record books – and wins to Wainuiomata’s Jake Whitaker and Cambridge’s Dylan Yearbury – you could be forgiven for thinking it’s now just a two-horse race to the finish.
But, with riders to discard their worst result from the three North Island rounds of the series and the South Island finale therefore really a must-do event, the title chase is still wide open.
Whitaker won round one near Porirua two weeks ago and Yearbury won round two near Whangamata on Saturday, relegating Whitaker into second position by just 34 seconds, with Helensville’s Tom Buxton, New Plymouth’s Tony Parker and Thames rider Jason Davis rounding out the top five.
Injury prevented Yearbury from contesting the series opener near Porirua but that matters only slightly because this will simply become his “discard” event, although the pressure will be on him to perform well at the other rounds.
Round three of the series is to be a two-dayer in Hawke’s Bay on October 31 and November 1, with the competition again wrapping up with another double-header weekend, at the Nut Buster hard enduro at Oxford, near Christchurch, on November 14-15.
“I sliced my hand open with a razor knife a few weeks ago and so, sidelined and not having ridden for five weeks, it means I’m surprised I did so well,” said Yearbury afterwards.
“Jake (Whitaker) closed to within a few metres of me near the end of the race, but I managed to hold on for the win.”
Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Justin Stevenson said: “It was a great event, with conditions perfect for the riders”.
“It wasn’t too wet and so perhaps not as challenging for the riders as they might have been expecting. With Jake finishing second it means he still retains the series lead overall, but there’s still plenty of racing to be had and he can’t relax yet. Yearbury is definitely in contention to take the title.
“We enjoyed a great turnout of riders, with 84 entered on Saturday, a lot more than we saw at round one, and we are now looking forward to rounds three and four.”
The 2020 Yamaha NZ Extreme Off-Road Championships are supported by Mitas tyres, Macaulay Metals, Best Build Construction, Silver-bullet and Kiwi Rider magazine.
The 2020 NZ Extreme Off-Road Championship calendar:
Round one: September 13, Moonshine Extreme, Bulls Run Rd, Porirua.
Round two: September 26, Taungatara Forest, Whangamata.
Round three: October 31-November 1, Over The Top, Hawke’s Bay.
Round four: November 14-15, Nut Buster, Oxford, Christchurch.
PHOTO: Cambridge’s Dylan Yearbury (Husqvarna), outright winner in the elite Gold Grade on Saturday. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com