Enduro riding is on a roll

By Andy McGechan


Motorsport

Off-road motorcycle riding typically combines strength, endurance, balance and tenacity but this year's national enduro series is going to be bigger and tougher than ever before.

Originally boosted from five to seven rounds this season, another event is now set to be added to the 2013 Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships.

It flies in the face of current trends - other sports are scaling back in light of tough economic times - and shows just how healthy the Kiwi enduro scene is.

"I'm very excited about this development," said Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Shaun Prescott, of Hikuai.

"We decided that, as long as the rounds are spread out, we could expand it easily and so now we have eight rounds. All rounds count for the 'outright' winner, but riders can discard their one worst result, so only seven of the eight rounds are counted towards individual class titles.

"A lot of interest is being shown in the series this year by riders who have never before tried enduro racing, so I guess we must be starting to tap into the trail bike riding scene.

"Basically, if you can ride a trail ride, you can ride an enduro championship round ... it's just a fraction more intense."

The series will also incorporate the Kiwi Rider Junior Cup competition, catering for younger riders at the national championship rounds.

As well as the championship series' boost, there will also be a three-day North Island Enduro Championships event, at Maramarua, near Thames, over the Queen's Birthday Weekend.

The nation's elite riders are expected to embrace the new series with Kiwi international Chris Birch returning home from South Africa, Whangamata's former national champion Jason Davis back from injury, current national cross-country and 2012 outright national enduro champion Adrian Smith, of Mokau, back from a stint in the US and Wellington's six-time national moto trials champion Jake Whitaker crossing over from trials to enduro riding.

These champions, and others, will go head-to-head when the 2013 nationals kick off in just over two weeks' time, at Oparau, near Kawhia, on Saturday, February 2.

2013 Yamaha NZ Enduro Championships calendar:

Round 1: Feb 2, Oparau

Round 2: Feb 23, Whangamata

Round 3: March 24, Riverhead

Round 4: April 27, Wellington

Round 5: May 11, Waimiha

Round 6: June 1, Maramarua

Round 7: July 20, Taupo

Round 8: Sept 21, Tokoroa

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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