Italian manufacturer, Beta Motorcycles have unveiled their new RR Racing bikes for 2020, a comletely new generation of Enduro bikes, to be brought to New Zealand by Euromoto Co. – a division of Triumph New Zealand Ltd.

First spotted back in July, the new Beta RR Racing range consists of 7 models – 125, 250, and 300cc 2T (2-stroke), and 350, 390, 430, and 480cc 4T (4-stroke). Compared to the respective standard versions, the RR Racing MY 2020 range stands out with upgraded suspension, reduced weight, and a host of special components for racing efficiency.

The RR Racing models will feature Kayaba AOS forks. The new KYB spring forks feature a 48mm closed-cartridge design, and are world-renowned worldwide as being top-of-the-range. A close collaboration between Beta and Kayaba has created a bespoke product which features a new fork shoe design, and a unique calibration that is reserved specifically for the RR models. The use of anodised internal components allows for minimal sliding friction, while the customary compression and rebound adjusters allow for easy use and calibration, to get the optimum settings in any terrain. Offering excellent operation in all conditions, the KYB forks are ultra-reliable, easy to tune, and considerably lighter than before – up to half a kilogram lighter than the 2019 model.

The new ZF 46mm shock absorber has new calibration settings, allowing the rider to get the absolute best performance from the new chassis. The RR Racing models also feature a distinct black anodised triple clamp.

Other racing inspired upgrades to the RR Racing models include: a quick-release front wheel pin, to allow for faster front tyre repairs, Vertigo hand guards, Metzeler Six Days tyres, Ergal footrests, a new battery charging system for the 4T models, and a the 125cc 2T receives a new expansion chamber to improve performance across the entire power curve. New racing graphics and a host of coloured anodised parts complete the look of the new RR Racing models.

Would you call it a whitewash or perhaps an orange squash?

Riders of the distinctive orange KTM bike brand clean swept all three grades at round one of the New Zealand Extreme Off-Road Championship series in a damp Taungatara Forest near Whangamata on Saturday.

Bronze, silver and gold level courses were offered, designed to cater for all the various skill levels, and Wainuiomata’s Jake Whitaker (KTM 350EXC-F) led a KTM 1-2-3 in the premier Gold Grade on Saturday, finishing the day ahead of New Plymouth’s Tony Parker (KTM 300EXC) and Helensville’s Tom Buxton (KTM 300EXC).

Interestingly, Kiwi international Chris Birch (KTM 250EXC) actually won the day outright, finishing nearly six minutes ahead of Whitaker but the Thames man was classified as a non-championship rider because he will not contest the entire four-round series and was also not licensed for the Nationals.

The top 12 finishers in the Silver Grade all rode KTM bikes, with veteran Huntly rider Warren Tapp (KTM 300EXC) the stand-out competitor there, while Thames woman Natasha Cairns (KTM 250EXC) led the way in the Bronze Grade at the gruelling event on Saturday.

“Yes, Chris Birch won the day as a non-championship rider,” confirmed Whitaker, a record eight-time former National Moto Trials Champion who converted to enduro competitions just a few years ago. “Chris had a good lead over me on lap one, although I managed to pull him back a bit on lap two. It was pretty challenging and I struggled a bit with the creek bed sections. I didn’t really have the bike set up properly for the long river sections,” said the 28-year-old father-of-one. “The extreme terrain kind of suits me though and my trials riding experience helps a lot when the going gets tough like this. I think I have an advantage over many of the other riders when trials skills are needed.”

Rounds will now follow at Moonshine, off Bulls Run Road, near Porirua in just two weeks’ time, on September 22, before a two-dayer in Hawke’s Bay (at Taradale on day one and at Tutira on day two) on November 2-3.

Just as it did for last year’s inaugural New Zealand Extreme Off-Road Championship series, the competition will again wrap up with another double-header weekend, at the Nut Buster hard enduro at Oxford, near Christchurch, on November 15-16.

Only three of the four rounds of the NZ Extreme Off-Road Championship are to be counted, with riders discarding their one worst score from the three North Island rounds, while double points are offered for the Nut Buster final round in the South Island.

 

The 2019 NZ Extreme Off-Road Championship calendar:

Round one: September 7, Taungatara Forest, Whangamata.
Round two: September 22, Moonshine Extreme, Bulls Run Rd, Porirua.
Round three: November 2-3, Over The Top, Hawke’s Bay.
Round four: November 15-16, Nut Buster, Oxford, Christchurch.

Wainuiomata’s Jake Whitaker (KTM), leading the way in the Gold Grade after the opening round of the NZ Extreme Off-Road Championships at the weekend.

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan

 

When the going gets tough, the tough get going… probably straight to the top of the podium in the NZ Extreme Off-Road Championship series.

This year’s second annual edition of the  four-round Yamaha-sponsored hard enduro competition kicks off in the Taungatara Forest, not far from Whangamata, this Saturday (September 7), with rounds to follow at Moonshine, off Bulls Run Road, near Porirua on September 22 and a two-dayer in Hawke’s Bay (at Taradale on day one and at Tutira on day two) on November 2-3.

Just as it did for last year’s inaugural series, the competition will again wrap up with another double-header weekend, at the Nut Buster hard enduro at Oxford, near Christchurch, on November 15-16.

Only the bold, brave and superbly talented should expect to win an event as tough as this, but that should not deter any accomplished dirt bike rider from giving it a crack.

Only three of the four rounds of the NZ Extreme Off-road Championship are to be counted, with riders discarding their one worst score from the three North Island rounds, while double points are offered for the Nut Buster final round in the South Island.

Cambridge’s Dylan Yearbury won the inaugural the NZ Extreme Off-Road Championship series last season and he will certainly be one rider to look out for, his credentials undeniable, but so too is the curriculum vitae presented by record eight-time former national moto trials champion-turned-enduro rider Jake Whitaker, of Wainuiomata, and just-crowned national enduro champion Seth Reardon, of Whanganui.

Cambridge rider Dylan Yearbury (Husqvarna), winner of the NZ Extreme Off-Road Championship last season and expected to be a title threat again this time around.

Other leading riders such as Canterbury brothers Angus and Hamish Macdonald, Tokoroa’s Sean Clarke, Thames rider Chris Birch, Titirangi’s Callan May, Hamilton’s Phil Singleton, Helensville’s Tom Buxton, Tokoroa’s Jake Wightman, Oamaru’s Bradley Simpson and Napier’s Mackenzie Wiig, to name a few, could also be expected to threaten for the main trophy this year.

“The aim of the Extreme Off-Road Championship is to provide events that will be designed using the available terrain to be extremely challenging for the riders and an ultimate test of the riders’ ability and skills,” said Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Justin Stevenson.

He said the events would be “a little tougher than a normal national enduro, but not impossible. Most riders know what they’re up for and Kiwi riders seem to crave the extra challenge. The skill levels of riders are increasing these days, which is a good thing, and I think that’s a worldwide trend. The events are getting tougher and tougher and the riders are getting better and better.”

He said there would be bronze, silver and gold level courses set for the riders, to cater for all the various skill levels.

The 2019 Yamaha NZ Extreme Off-Road Championships are supported by Mitas tyres, Macaulay Metals, Best Build Construction, Silver-bullet, Kiwi Rider magazine, Dirt Rider Downunder magazine, Moto Events NZ and NZ Car Parts (Auckland).

The 2019 NZ Extreme Off-Road Championship calendar:

Round one: September 7, Taungatara Forest, Whangamata.
Round two: September 22, Moonshine Extreme, Bulls Run Rd, Porirua.
Round three: November 2-3, Over The Top, Hawke’s Bay.
Round four: November 15-16, Nut Buster, Oxford, Christchurch.

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Graham Jarvis heads into today’s start of the infamous Romaniacs Hard Enduro Rallye as leader of the 2019 World Enduro Super Series. With two consecutive WESS wins under his belt, the on form British rider starts round five of the series confident of further success and is joined by teammates Billy Bolt and Alfredo Gomez.

Jarvis comes into the 16th edition of Romaniacs on a superb run of form having won both rounds three and four of WESS – the Erzbergrodeo Hare Scramble and the recent Hixpania Hard Enduro. Enjoying a 120-point advantage at the top of the current series rankings, the experienced 44-year-old will be aiming to claim a record-breaking seventh win in Romania and with it extend his championship lead.

2018 World Enduro Super Series winner Billy Bolt continues to regain both strength and form following his off-season injury sustained over the winter. Fifth in the championship, Bolt narrowly missed the podium at the Hixpania Hard Enduro, fighting through the pack after a tough start to claim an impressive fourth-place result. Approaching Romaniacs in his best form of the season so far, the young Brit is looking to make his mark on the 2019 event.

Billy Bolt – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing

One place ahead of Bolt and in fourth in the WESS standings, Alfredo Gomez tied on points with teammate Jarvis at Hixpania after winning the first two days of racing. The Spaniard is unquestionably on form and hungry to claim his first ever WESS win.

Featuring five days of racing, with a Prologue on the streets on Sibiu followed by four days in the surrounding mountains the Romaniacs Hard Enduro Rallye looks set to be one of the toughest and most demanding events on the WESS calendar. The race will test the riders’ skill, stamina and mental strength.

Alfredo Gomez – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing

Andi Hölzl

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team Manager

“Romaniacs is always a race that Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing look forward to, but this year, following Graham’s incredible result at Erzberg, we are even more motivated. The weather during the coming days will make a huge difference to the outcome of this year’s event, but like always it will certainly be difficult. Graham likes it when the conditions are super challenging, so we’re confident that he can again fight for a good result. Billy’s been busy in recent weeks testing and riding. While he doesn’t have the experience that Graham does, he’s raced here enough to know what to expect and is looking forward to it. Alfredo has also been busy and is really ready for this race. Romaniacs is very special, very different to all other races, so we know everyone must take things one day at a time. You never know what’s coming at Romaniacs, which is part of the reason why, as a team, that we like it so much.”

Round five of the World Enduro Super Series takes place in Sibiu, Romania from July 30 to August 3.

Graham Jarvis – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing

Photos: Husqvarna Motorcycles Press

There were six different winners in seven rounds of competition this season, but, in the end, there could only be one champion and this year it was Seth Reardon.

The Whanganui rider was heavily favoured to wrap up the main title in this season’s Yamaha and Mitas Tyres-sponsored New Zealand Enduro Championships and that’s what he did at the weekend’s double-header, the final two rounds of the series near Hokitika on Friday and Saturday.

Christchurch international Hamish Macdonald (Sherco), at home for a seven-week spell as the FIM Enduro GP World Championships take their regular (Northern Hemisphere) summer break, dominated both days at Hokitika.

But these two race days were his only appearances in New Zealand this year and so he was never likely to be a title contender. It was a similar story with several of the other event winners too.

Helensville’s Tom Buxton (KTM) won round one of the series near Whangamata in March, Cambridge rider Dylan Yearbury (Husqvarna) clinched the win at round two near Porirua in April, Thames rider Chris Birch (KTM) topped the podium at round three near Tokoroa two weeks later, Reardon (Yamaha) won round four near Martinborough on June 9 and Rotorua’s Bradley Lauder (Husqvarna) won round five near Masterton on the last weekend of June.

However, overseas riding commitments meant neither Buxton, Yearbury or Birch could mount a full domestic campaign this year, virtually ruling themselves out of New Zealand title contention.

The 21-year-old Reardon therefore began his weekend near Hokitika with a massive 23-point advantage over his nearest challenger, Cambridge’s Beau Taylor (Husqvarna), and when Reardon finished third on Friday and then third again on Saturday it was job done.

Reardon earned the ‘overall’ trophy for the premier AA Grade (formerly referred to as Expert), ahead of Taylor and Tokoroa’s Jake Wightman (KTM).

Masterton’s Philip Bly (KTM) won the A Grade (formerly referred to as Intermediate), finishing ahead of Thames rider Natasha Cairns (KTM) and Omihi’s Ethan McBreen (Husqvarna).

“It was a bit wet on Friday, but conditions were perfect on Saturday,” said Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Justin Stevenson. “The host Westland Motorcycle Club named it the ‘Mud Fest’ for a reason, but I think everyone enjoyed the two days. There had been 10 consecutive days of rain around Hokitika leading up to the event, so it was about as good as it was going to get. The organising club did a great job of running the event. It was certainly a challenge for everyone involved, riders and event crew alike, but they coped well. We are already talking with clubs about events for next season and hope to use some new venues too. We are also looking now ahead to the extreme series, set to kick off at Whangamata in September.”

The various class winners this season were Reardon (Yamaha, E1, up to 200cc 2-stroke, up to 300cc 4-stroke); Stratford’s Josh Hunger (Husqvarna, E2, 201cc+ 2-stroke); Christchurch’s Josh Dando (Husqvarna, E3, 301cc + 4-stroke); Whangarei’s Adrian Broughton (KTM, Vet 1, 40yrs +); Thames’ Natasha Cairns (KTM, women); Masterton’s Philip Bly (KTM, Vet 2, 50-54yrs); Auckland’s Jeff Van Hout (KTM, Vet 3, 55yrs +).

New Zealand Top Trail Riders Championship class winners were Omihi’s Ethan McBreen (Husqvarna, TTR1 up to 200cc 2-stroke, up to 300cc 4-stroke); Pakotai’s Josh Alexander (KTM, TTR2 201cc + 2-stroke, up to 301cc+ 4-stroke); Upper Hutt’s Kevin Birdsall (Honda, Vet 4 40yrs +).

The 2019 Yamaha NZ Enduro Championships are supported by Mitas tyres, Macaulay Metals, Best Build Construction, Silver-bullet, Kiwi Rider magazine, Dirt Rider Downunder magazine and Moto Events NZ.

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan