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Fine Finish In Finland

Fine Finish In Finland

Mokau's Adrian Smith (Yamaha), returning from Finland with an ISDE gold medal in his bag. Photo by Andy McGechan,

AUGUST 15, 2011: The Kiwis are celebrating a fantastic flying finish in Finland, the trio claiming two gold medals and a silver at the "Olympic Games of off-road racing".

The three-man Wellard New Zealand Yamaha team ended up third overall in the fight-within-a-fight for Club Team honours at this year's gruelling International Six Days Enduro in Finland.

The Kiwi contingent - Taranaki's Adrian Smith (Yamaha YZ250F) and Auckland cousins Karl and Chris Power (both on Yamaha YZ450F bikes) - survived all sorts of adversity to finish close behind teams from the Czech Republic and Sweden and at the same time overshadowed elite squads of riders from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Poland, Belgium, Australia, Canada, Chile, the United States and the British Army Team, to name a few.

In all, there were teams from 63 separate teams entered in the Club Team section of the competition.

Torrential rain, with hail at times, turned some sections of trail and special tests into bottomless bogs at this big annual ISDE, but the Kiwis held firm.

With the mud came overheating bikes, worn out chains, sprockets, wheel bearings and riders. Dealing with all of these conditions, on top of racing for nearly eight hours a day, was no small task.

On top of all of that, all three Kiwis were suffering from the effects of the flu which came with them from New Zealand.

Individually, Mokau's Smith marked his fifth ISDE campaign as an outright class champion and gold medal winner as he dominated the C1 (250cc) division from day one.

But the battle was very close indeed and, at the end of the six days, Smith finished just 17 seconds ahead of Italy's Maurizio Gerini, with Swedish rider Albin Elowson nearly five minutes further back.

Despite several heavy crashes on day five, Karl Power was able to hold on to finish second overall in the C2 (450cc) division and claim a gold medal, ending the event just 1m 09 seconds behind the eventual class winner, Sweden's Olle Lothman.

Chris Power finished 11th overall in the same C2 class to earn a silver medal, ending his campaign less than five minutes behind the eventual 10th-ranked rider, Michal Rudols (Yamaha), of the Czech Republic.


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