CAPTION: Dannevirke’s Anders Easton (Husqvarna 150 EXC TPI), on his way to finishing third overall in the Junior grade at this year’s national enduro series. Photo by Andy McGechan,

The future heroes of off-road motorcycle racing shared the programme with the current superstars in the just-completed 2023 New Zealand Enduro Championships.

So, in addition to the established senior frontrunners and current Kiwi internationals, the series therefore also operated brilliantly as a nursery ground for aspiring talent of upcoming championship events.

The likes of Omihi’s Ethan McBreen, Wairoa’s Tommy Watts, Nelson’s Bailey Basalaj and Taupo’s Brad Groombridge, among others, hogged the media spotlight at the front end of the talented field, but there was plenty happening behind them too.

Diligently following behind, without fanfare, were the fledgeling riders who will no doubt be the foundation riders for great senior events in the years to come.

The junior and trail classes in this season’s national series proudly showcased New Zealand’s grassroots riders and they were launched onto the course at all four rounds of the 2023 series, right behind the senior men and women.

Stand-out riders in the Junior grade this season were Motueka’s Logan Wassell, Whitecliffs rider Shey Corson, Dannevirke’s Anders Easton, Christchurch’s Colson Emery and Owaka’s Blake Affleck, while top performers in the Junior-Trail grade included Martinborough’s Tom McAvoy, Wellington’s Sam Dearsly, Canterbury’s Mason Coleman-Cowie and Mairehau’s Clifford Robinson, although all the junior riders did contribute hugely to the popular competition.

“This year’s enduro series saw some great riding from within the junior-support classes,” said Motorcycling New Zealand general manager Mike Kerrisk.

“The junior numbers and level of riding are pleasing. We hope to see these younger riders stay in the sport and develop into our next group of top-class competitors,” he said.

This year’s Yamaha-sponsored four-round series took riders to Omihi, in North Canterbury, Nelson, Porirua and Martinborough and each venue offered different challenges.

The series featured classes for the elite exponents, as well as intermediate or novice-grade men and women, as well as including categories for veteran riders (in 40-49 years, 50-54 and over-55 years’ groupings), which meant the competition could appeal to all members of the family.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,