Ir­ish jaunt to stay course

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By ANDY MCGECHAN

For­mer Whitby mo­tocross rider Rory Mead has had to nav­i­gate im­mi­gra­tion red tape as well as race tracks in his quest to con­quer the Grand Na­tional Cross-coun­try Cham­pi­onships in the United States.

With his vis­i­tor per­mit ex­pired, Mead was forced to leave the coun­try for a few days and hope that he would be let back across the bor­der again with a re-stamped visa be­fore the sixth round of the GNCC se­ries in Springville, In­di­ana, from May 12 to 13.

Mead flew out of the US and spent three days in Ire­land to fa­cil­i­tate his visa up­date, although it meant he only ar­rived back in the US the day be­fore the race at Springville.

Mead, who raced a Yamaha YZ450F to re­claim the New Zealand En­duro Cham­pi­onships crown last sea­son be­fore em­bark­ing on his first full GNCC cam­paign this year, said he was ‘‘ ab­so­lutely ex­hausted from all the travel’’ but still sat­is­fied when he man­aged to fin­ish sixth at Springville. ‘‘ Sixth place is bet­ter than noth­ing,’’ said Mead’s fa­ther Jamie. ‘‘ It’s tough be­cause he just had to make the quick trip out of the coun­try and back again. If a per­son over­stays in Amer­ica, even for one day, they are not al­lowed back for five years. It took a toll on Rory both phys­i­cally and men­tally.’’

Mead re­mains fourth over­all in the se­ries stand­ings, just 16 points adrift of thir­dranked Char­lie Mullins, the de­fend­ing cham­pion.

His sixth plac­ing at Springville fol­lowed his first se­ries vic­tory, in Ken­tucky on April 30. Mead was run­ning fifth as the bikes shot off into the bush fol­low­ing the start but he had taken the lead by the end of lap two.

‘‘I pulled away a bit, I just went for it. Then I cruised near the end. This was a track that had not been used be­fore so ev­ery­body was rid­ing blind, with no ex­tra knowl­edge of what to ex­pect, and I’m quite good at do­ing that. It was a level play­ing field for once.’’

The next round is at Ma­son­town, West Virginia, on May 27.

Roar­ing home: Rory Mead had an eas­ier time of it on the track in Ken­tucky than he did just get­ting to the start­ing grid of the GNCC’S sixth round event in Springville, In­di­ana.

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