2022 New Zealand Enduro Championships

CAPTION: Cambridge rider Dylan Yearbury (Husqvarna TE300), well on target to defend his New Zealand Enduro Championships crown this season. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

They say it’s not over until it’s over and, although recipients for some of the silverware may already have been decided, the racing will still go down to the wire where it matters most.

Rounds one and two of the Yamaha-sponsored 2022 New Zealand Enduro Championships were staged back-to-back over the long Queen’s Birthday Weekend – round one near Whanganui on Saturday and round two near Porirua on Monday – and all that now remains is for the third and final round to be fought out, near Martinborough this coming weekend (Sunday), with Cambridge man Dylan Yearbury the hot favourite to successfully defend his 2021 title.

Yearbury won both days over Queen’s Birthday weekend, finishing ahead of Palmerston North’s Paul Whibley and Taupo’s Brad Groombridge on Saturday and then edging out Taupo’s Wil Yeoman and Kaukapakapa’s Josh Jack on Monday, and this means, with his 1-1 score-card thus far, Yearbury just needs to stay out of trouble at Martinborough next Sunday to wrap up the title overall for a second consecutive season.

But anything can still happen in this most difficult and physically demanding of sports, with Whibley, Groombridge, Yeoman and Jack, and possibly a handful of others too, all still within strike range.

However, only two of three rounds are counted in the battle for individual class honours and, in that respect, it means that Yearbury (over-300cc two-stroke class), Whibley (veterans’ over-40 years), Yeoman (under-300cc four-stroke), New Plymouth’s Sam Parker (under-200cc two-stroke) and Omihi’s Ethan McBreen (over-300cc four-stroke) already have those class trophies in the bag.

“The overall title is still up in the air and watching how that pans out at Martinborough will be extremely interesting,” said Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Justin Stevenson.

“It’s still mathematically possible for any one of about eight riders to win overall in the premier AA grade. The racing has been fantastic so far and both courses over Queen’s Birthday Weekend were extremely challenging.

“It was great to see former national champion Brad Groombridge back racing again after injury and also encouraging to see fresh enduro talent such as Josh Jack stepping up to the plate.

“It was also excellent to see so many riders showing up to contest the series. We had 122 riders at Whanganui on Saturday, including a large contingent from the South Island.

“With the series this year reduced to just three rounds and set to be completed in just over one week, it means that, from a logistical point of view, it suited the South Islanders. A few of them are staying here up in the North Island, while a few others are leaving their gear here and travelling back home for work, planning to return again for the Martinborough event on Sunday (June 12).”

As a training exercise for some of the riders planning to travel to France in August to compete at the annual International Six Days Enduro (ISDE), a bike work session was also staged at the weekend.

“We asked Wil Yeoman, Dylan Yearbury and Ben Dando (from Rangiora) to change a rear tyre and front brake pads on their bikes, just as they might during a 15-minute daily work session at the ISDE,” said Stevenson. “All three riders completed the task in unbelievably quick times, between five and five-and-half minutes.”

The 2022 Yamaha NZ Enduro Championships are supported by Mitas tyres Macaulay Metals, Best Build Construction, Silver-bullet and Kiwi Rider magazine.

2022 NZ Enduro Champs calendar:

Round 1 – Saturday, June 4 – Whanganui;

Round 2 – Queen’s Birthday Monday, June 6 – Porirua;

Round 3 – Sunday, June 12 – Martinborough.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com