Flat Tyre Robs Yamaha Duo
Flat Tyre Robs Yamaha Duo
OCTOBER 11, 2013: A flat tyre is all that stood between Yamaha pair Callan May and Adrian Smith and a remarkable victory at the weekend's big annual Six-Hour Dirt Bike Challenge near Tokoroa.
Aucklander May and Mokau's Smith teamed up to co-ride May's Kiwi Rider BikesportNZ.com Yamaha YZ250F at the dirt bike marathon on Saturday and, despite the horsepower handicap against the bigger 300cc and 450cc bikes also entered, the dynamic duo challenged hard for the outright win.
The popular stand-alone event typically attracts the cream of New Zealand’s off-road motorcycling community, including Kiwi international stars and national champions from many of the various biking codes – including cross-country racers, enduro experts, moto trials exponents, motocross heroes and even road-racing legends.
This year’s event near Tokoroa was no exception, with an abundance of ‘star’ riders lining up for battle.
National under-300cc four-stroke enduro champion May took his YZ250F to snatch the holeshot and he led the riders into the forest course at Ohakuri for the first time after the shot-gun blast signalled the start on Saturday.
May was still leading after the opening two laps and he then handed the bike over to national cross-country champion Smith, although Taupo's Brad Groombridge was not far behind on his 450cc bike and soon after he too arrived at the pits, handing over to his team-mate, Hawera's Daryl Hurley.
The fight for the top two spots was getting more intense by the minute.
The deficit between the two front-runners was down to just one minute as the two-hour mark approached, but then fate stepped in to alter the dynamics of the race -- May suffering a flat tyre during his second session on the bike, the team's fifth circulation of the rough course.
More than two minutes was lost in the pits as the May/Smith duo repaired the flat tyre, giving the Groombridge/Hurley team a comfortable lead.
"After changing the rear wheel and getting back on track, we made up a bit of lost time, until we had to stop again to replace some brake pads," May explained.
As the race neared the end, the Groombridge/Hurley and May/Smith teams arrived at the timing zone with minutes still left on the six-hour clock and so they were waved on to complete another lap, the only teams that would eventually be forced to continue their battle for a ninth lap.
The Groombridge/Hurley team eventually won by nearly six minutes from the May/Smith pairing, while Waikato pair Damien King and Jesse Wiki finished third overall, Auckland's Shaun Fogarty and Raglan's Jason Dickey teamed up to finish fourth and Aucklander Sam Greenslade and Hokianga's Damon Nield secured fifth place overall.
The first solo rider to finish was Masterton's Reuben Vermeer, coming home ninth overall on his Yamaha YZ450F.
"Brad and Daryl pulled out an awesome couple of laps and they pulled away from us at the end," said May.
"It was a good track, nice and smooth and really flowing. (Event organiser) Sean Clarke did an awesome job running the event."
It was some consolation for May and Smith that, in addition to finishing second overall, they also won the under-300cc four-stroke section of the event.