Irish jaunt to stay course
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.