CAPTION: Oparau’s James Scott (Yamaha), locked in a fierce battle for the lead in this season’s Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships series. Photo by Andy McGechan,

The cream is supposed to rise to the top and that’s exactly what’s happening in this season’s Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships.

After two of five rounds, it’s Taupo’s Brad Groombridge and Oparau’s James Scott locked in a tight battle for the lead, both men no strangers to winning New Zealand titles and, quite naturally, neither of them has been inclined to give an inch.

The championship series kicked off at Omihi, near Christchurch, just over a week ago and round two was staged at an entirely different venue at Coalgate, also near Christchurch, at the weekend just gone, both these events featuring gruelling back-to-back two days of tough racing on steep farmland.

For both weekends the racing included a sprint format event on Saturday, followed by a traditional timecard enduro race the following day and, on both days and both these two opening rounds, it was Groombridge and Scott who were the leading riders in the premier AA grade competition.

Groombridge is a three-time former New Zealand cross-country champion (winning in consecutive seasons, in 2016, 2017 and 2018) and twice previously won the New Zealand Enduro Championships overall, in 2016 and again in 2018, while Scott won the New Zealand Cross-Country Championships in 2023 and he is the current New Zealand MX2 (250cc) Motocross Champion.

Several other leading riders from previous seasons, men such as Omihi’s defending New Zealand Enduro Champion Ethan McBreen, Nelson’s Bailey Basalaj, Taupo’s 2023 New Zealand Cross-Country Champion Wil Yeoman, New Plymouth’s Josh Houghton, and Rangiora’s Ben Dando have been keeping the leading pair honest with solid performances of their own.

The next two rounds in the championship will be at separate venues – near Wellington and Martinborough respectively – on consecutive weekends in the North Island in June, with the fifth and final round a one-day competition, set for Bideford, near Masterton in November.

“Both venues so far have proved to be quite fun, but also very challenging,” said Motorcycling New Zealand Enduro Commissioner Justin Stevenson.

The leading individuals after two rounds thus far are Groombridge, unbeaten and on the maximum 50 points, with Scott (44 points) in second and Nelson’s Bailey Basalaj (40 points) rounding out the podium.

The leaders in the various AA grade (expert level) bike classes after two rounds are Basalaj (E1, 0-200cc two-stroke and 0-300cc four-stroke class); Groombridge (E1, 201cc-to-open two-stroke class); Scott (E3, 301cc-to-open four-stroke class and Rangiora’s Kelly Paterson (Veterans over-40 years class).

The leading rider in the A grade (intermediate level) after round two at the weekend is New Plymouth’s Hayden Lockhart, with Paeroa’s Mark Whyte and Christchurch’s Grant Oliver rounding out the top three.

It’s interesting to note that this year’s International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) is set for Spain in October and the racing in New Zealand throughout this domestic series will help Stevenson make his selections for the New Zealand team to travel away for that.

In addition to Yamaha-Motor New Zealand, the 2024 NZ Enduro Championships are supported by Macaulay Metals, Best Build Construction, Silver-Bullet and Kiwi Rider magazine.

2024 Yamaha NZ Enduro Champs calendar:

Round 1: April 20-21, 1045 Reece’s Road, Omihi, near Christchurch.

Round 2: April 27-28, 981 Whitecliffs Road, Coalgate, Canterbury.

Round 3: June 1-2, Porirua (signposted from SH 58, Haywards Hill Road) Moonshine Valley Road, Wellington.

Round 4: June 8-9, Ruakokoputuna Hall, near Martinborough.

Round 5: November 2, Bideford, near Masterton.


Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

A high-resolution copy of the attached image is available for publication, for editorial use only, simply by contacting phone 027-324-0892. As regards web site use, credit for words & photo must be given to Andy McGechan and


Code No. MNZ-AM1075