Mo­tocross event dou­ble-header

South Waikato News - - MOTORING - By ANDY MCGECHAN, BIKESPORTNZ.COM

Toko­roa tracks have served for­mer Kiwi in­ter­na­tional Paul Whi­b­ley well.

He had to have his arm twisted to en­ter the first round of his own NZXC cross-coun­try se­ries at the week­end, but re­ally it was just too much fun for him to ig­nore.

The open­ing round of the pop­u­lar an­nual Dirt Guide Cross- coun­try Se­ries was run in con­junc­tion with the first round of the inau­gu­ral NZXC se­ries at Tar Hill, just south of Toko­roa, on Sun­day, and so it was a dou­ble-header of sorts with points from the one race be­ing earned in two sep­a­rate com­pe­ti­tions.

This was only time the two se­ries will merge this sea­son – round two of the NZXC se­ries is set for Taiko­rea, near Palmer­ston North, on July 18 and round two of the Dirt Guide Se­ries is set for Ohakuri, near Toko­roa, on Au­gust 9 – although many riders have in­di­cated they will tackle both com­pe­ti­tions.

Pahiatua’s Whi­b­ley (Yamaha YZ450F) won the two-hour se­nior race at Tar Hill on Sun­day and Taupo’s Wy­att Chase (Yamaha YZ125) won the 90- minute ju­nior race staged a lit­tle ear­lier in the day, mak­ing it a Yamaha sweep for the day.

Whi­b­ley said it was re­ally a last­minute de­ci­sion for him to race on Sun­day, Dirt Guide se­ries or­gan­iser Sean Clarke twist­ing his arm to show up and ride.

‘‘The NZXC se­ries is for oth­ers to en­joy. So I didn’t come here to­day to poach points from other riders; I just came here to en­joy my­self and I won’t be rac­ing at round two any­way be­cause I’ll be too busy or­gan­is­ing things.

‘‘In say­ing that, though, I would like to be a con­tender to win the sep­a­rate Dirt Guide Se­ries. I wouldn’t feel guilty if I won that,’’ he laughed.

‘‘The course that Sean [Clarke] set out to­day was great, just what the cross-coun­try na­tion­als should be like.

‘‘There were plenty of fast bits and also plenty of flow­ing stuff through the trees and lots of bumps and ruts. A bit of ev­ery­thing re­ally.

‘‘ I wasn’t sure if any­one had passed me while I was re­fu­elling in the pits be­cause I was on my lone­some to­day and wasn’t get­ting any pit sig­nals from my usual crew, my wife Kather­ine. So I just kept up a good, steady pace. I didn’t want to ride too hard and I didn’t want to slacken off ei­ther. It’s a fine line re­ally, but I couldn’t hear any­one be­hind me.’’

Whi­b­ley was the only rider re­quired to com­plete a sixth lap of the forestry course, be­cause the two hours had not elapsed when he came through the tim­ing zone af­ter lap five. But he was al­ready about three min­utes ahead of the even­tual run­ner-up, How­ick mo­tocross and en­duro ace Liam Draper, be­fore he started that fi­nal lap.

Welling­ton’s seven- time for­mer na­tional moto tri­als cham­pion Jake Whi­taker rounded out the podium, cross­ing the line 20 sec­onds be­hind Draper.

Mean­while, Chase fin­ished the ju­nior race two min­utes and 43 sec­onds ahead of Opa­rau’s James Scott.

Paul Whi­b­ley (Yamaha) has again shown the class that made him an in­ter­na­tional star in the sport over many years of rac­ing in Europe and the United States.

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