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The Usual Suspects and Some Not So Too

The Usual Suspects and Some Not So Too

APRIL 23, 2007: It was the usual suspects who dominated racing at round three of the Top Trail Rider Central Enduro Series near Pahiatua on Sunday, and some not so usual suspects too.

Auckland’s Chris Birch (KTM 250 EXC) was the unsurprising winner of Sunday’s event, the national champion coping best with the steep and demanding farmland course at Kohinui, near the famous DB Brewery at Mangatainoka.

But he regularly had to look over his shoulder as enduro newcomer Adam Reeves (Pahiatua, Suzuki RM250) gave chase.

The popular Yamaha-sponsored Top Trail Rider (TTR) Enduro Series is only a small step down from the full-blown national enduro championships and is geared at encouraging first-timers and novices to give the sport a try, but even Birch would have been surprised to have a virtual novice such as Reeves hot on his tail.

In the end it was Birch, followed Reeves and then expert KTM rider Rory Mead (Whitby), who currently leads the under-200cc class in the parallel national championship series.

Reeves was thrilled to finish third on debut and remarked afterwards he would certainly be looking to tackle future enduro events.

“He has gone from motocross to cross-country and now enduro racing … that’s a very versatile rider,” said Palmerston North’s Steven Bird, the event organizer who also rode on Sunday and finished fourth overall on his Yamaha YZ250.

Fifth was Palmerston North’s Richard Ebbett (Honda CR250) and sixth overall was Hamilton’s Phil Singleton (Honda CRF250).

Featuring two parallel but separate series -- the six-round Yamaha TTR Central Enduro Series and five-round Yamaha TTR Northern Enduro Series -- the two competitions kicked off in February and March respectively and the series co-ordinators, Palmerston North’s Steven Bird and Auckland’s Shaun Stanbridge, said the main focus was to encourage novice and first-timer riders to participate.

Bird said he was also impressed by another first-time enduro rider, Waipukurau’s Jonathon Kight (Suzuki RMZ450), who won the day in the intermediate open class.

“I think he might be another convert to this branch of the sport,” said Bird. “Jonathon is also an experienced motocross racer who has tried cross-country racing and now enduro riding might be his new calling.

“The terrain was difficult but not impossible and, out of 64 riders who started, there were only two who did not finish.”

Round four of the TTR Central Enduro Series is set for Martinborough on June 10, while round three of the TTR Northern Enduro Series is set for Hukerenui on May 5.

The two series are sponsored by Yamaha, Kiwi Rider magazine, Acerbis, Mitas and supported by Motorcycling New Zealand.

Yamaha TTR Northern Series:
Co-ordinated by Shaun Stanbridge, phone 09-479-1490.
Round one, Riverhead Forest, March 24, 2007.
Round two, Tairua, April 14.
Round three, Hukerenui, May 5.
Round four, Taupo, June 3.
Round five, Ngaroma, October 13.

Yamaha TTR Central series:
Co-ordinated by Steven Bird, phone 021-215-9647.
Round one, Makara, Wellington, February 18, 2007.
Round two, Kapi Mana, March 10.
Round three, Pahiatua, April 22.
Round four, Martinborough, June 10.
Round five, Santoft Forest, August 5.
Round six, Gwavas Forest, September 16.


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