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Birch Carries On Winning Streak

The 2014 KTM NZ Enduro Championships

Birch Carries On Winning Streak

FEBRUARY 25, 2014: Auckland’s Chris Birch is still the man to beat on the New Zealand enduro scene.

The Kiwi international from Glen Eden was runaway winner of the New Zealand Enduro Championships last season, winning it outright as well as clinching the over-300cc four-stroke class title, and he was unbeatable in doing it, stringing together six round wins from six starts in 2013.

And now the writing is already on the wall that this season could be a carbon copy of that triumph, after Birch comfortably won the opening round of the KTM-sponsored 2014 series near Whangamata on Saturday.

Though drizzle persisted throughout the day to turn the already-difficult course into slippery and treacherous one, Birch seemed quite relaxed and unruffled by the added challenges that presented.

Birch (KTM) finished nearly two minutes clear of overall runner-up Liam Draper (Husaberg), the young Aucklander a recent convert from moto trials competition, and obviously making a rapid transition into an extremely capable enduro rider.

Third overall on the day was Kaikohe’s Mitchell Nield (Yamaha), with Auckland’s Chris Power (Yamaha) and Feilding’s Freddie Milford-Cottam (KTM) completing the top five.

“I’m happy to get the series off to a good start,” said Birch, a 33-year-old father-of-one.

“The terrain offered everything. It was even dusty in the early stages, although that didn’t last long with the rain arriving.

“There were a good number of competitors here today and that shows the sport is in a very healthy state. It’s good to see we are heading down to Christchurch for one of the rounds this year. It’s probably been about 12 years or so since we’ve been down there.

“Each series we have had builds on the next one and builds momentum. The organisers of this series are doing a great job and that’s reflected in the numbers showing up to compete.”

The six-round national series continues with round two near Wellington on March 8.

Round three is in the Riverhead Forest, near Auckland, on March 23, followed by round four near Christchurch on April 5, with round five at Oparau on April 19 and the sixth and final round at Waimiha on May 10.

Credit: Words by Andy McGechan,


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