Motorsport: Win gives Power hope for series

By Andy McGechan

Auckland's Chris Power is turning up the blowtorch on his cross-country rivals.

The off-road all-rounder took his new Yamaha WR450F to victory at round two of the New Zealand Grand National Cross-country Championships (GNCC) near Te Puke, rocketing into second in the standings as the series reached the halfway stage and he is well within strike range of the main trophy.

Power is just two points behind series leader, Rotorua's Scott Birch, and looking forward to the final two rounds, at Maddix Park, Tauranga, on December 8 and at Maramarua, North Waikato, on January 26.

Power finished third overall at the series opener at Matata in October.

"But I'm in a good position now to push on and win this series.

"That's the plan anyway," said Power afterwards.

"It was a good day for me. I haven't been getting good starts lately but I got off the start line pretty well, for once, and followed Scott [Birch] through the first motocross track section of the race.

"I got past him just as we entered the bush for the first time and it was a real ding-dong battle between the two of us throughout the race from then on.

"It was just the two of us swapping the lead and we sort of left everyone else behind.

"The fuel tank on my bike is a good size, about 1.5 litres more capacity than some of the other bikes ... something that's standard with this Yamaha ... and that gave me an advantage.

"I could do 90 minutes before coming into the pits.

"On the last lap, Scott was in front but he made a mistake and then I went past and just put the hammer down, stretching out a bit of a gap at the front.

"It was getting very rough but the bike hooks up brilliantly, even on the steep uphills. It was a nice win to celebrate."

Power's next outing will be the opening round of the new Extreme Enduro Series, the Riverhead 100, in the Riverhead Forest, west of Auckland, this weekend.

Yamaha riders won both main categories at the Te Puke race on Saturday, Power winning the Pro grade and Cambridge's Chris Foster riding his Yamaha YZ250 to ninth overall, easily enough to finish first among the Expert grade riders.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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