ERNIE VIGIL RACES THE NEW SCRAMBLER 1200 XE
AT THE GRUELLING MEXICAN 1000
April 26 – May 3 2019

Triumph Motorcycles are excited to confirm their return to the off-road endurance racing world with the new Scrambler 1200 XE at the Norra Mexican 1000 race, piloted by stunt rider and off-road racer Ernie Vigil.

Ernie Vigil is one of Triumph’s factory riders, and an experienced off-road racer, and was very likely the first person to have completed the Mexican 1000 on board a Triumph Tiger 800.

Now fully recovered and fit for action following an injury during training in October 2018, Ernie has spent the last 3 weeks in Southern California with the race-ready Scrambler 1200 completing his final preparations for this gruelling challenge.

Ernie’s Scrambler 1200 XE is in near-standard condition, and has only had additional specific desert racing seat, lights, grips and extreme profile sand tyres. Topping off the race spec features, there is also a unique off-road racing scheme with Triumph’s signature Black and White paint and graphics.

The Scrambler 1200 XE is an all-new benchmark-setting motorcycle that represents a first for dual-purpose capability and modern custom style. This beautiful new 1200 scrambler delivers a category redefining level of performance, specification and finish, fused with Triumph’s iconic Scrambler DNA and all the capability of a genuine adventure motorcycle.

The Norra Mexican 1000 is an incredible off-road racing challenge that takes in more than 1,000 miles across rocky desert, tackling quicksand, unpredictable 1,000bhp racing trucks and the elements. If you want to compete in extreme endurance races on a motorcycle, the Mexican 1000 is one of the biggest. Starting in Ensenada, Mexico, the original 1,000-mile route (which is where it gets its name) kicked off in 1967. The route changes and the distance varies but it is always around 1,000 miles, and promises one thing: an incredible challenge.

The Mexican 1000 is being run on the very same arduous course and conditions as the Baja 1000, which is the same terrain that made the Triumph Scrambler name famous in the 1960s, so the Scrambler 1200XE will be put to the ultimate scrambling test.  As this is such a highly challenging competition, Ernie, who was selected for both his experience and incredible commitment as well as his passion for this project, has been in full training for many weeks.

Ernie Vigil

“After 9 months of training, the injury and over 6,000 off-road miles in the saddle I’m excited to be getting to the final stage of prep for one of the most challenging off-road races you can do. I literally can’t wait to get to that starting line and fire the Scrambler up! The bike has been performing amazingly well and I’m raring to go.”

Paul Stroud,Triumph’s Chief Commercial Officer

“Everyone at Triumph is rooting for Ernie, his commitment to returning to race fitness following his injury has been amazing and we just can’t wait to see the Scrambler 1200 in action. Baja desert racing has played such a big part in the history of scrambling and it was the spark that kicked off of our whole iconic Scrambler line-up.”

Words and Photos: Triumph

The rising stars of motocross will be out in force for the 2019 New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships near Palmerston North this weekend (April 27-28).

With national titles and trophies to entice them or international careers beckoning for the young elite of New Zealand motocross, the racing is expected to again be of the highest calibre, perhaps forecasting who might become the next New Zealand contender for world championship honours.

Several national junior champions from the past have gone on to record major international successes, individuals such as Cody Cooper, Ben Townley, Josiah Natzke, Maximus Purvis, Dylan Walsh and James Scott.

Hosted by the Manawatu Orion Motorcycle Club and jointly sponsored by Lucas Oils and Alpinestars, this weekend’s event will run over three days, with qualifying early on in the Friday programme.

Racing is at the Flipp’s Track at Himatangi, off Omanuka Road at Oroua Downs. The sandy track there was used for the senior nationals a couple of seasons ago and is a popular venue for regular Manawatu club events.

There are seven races scheduled for each of the various bike and age-group categories and the riders’ hunger for glory will be such that it’s unlikely there will be any crumbs left on the table when the racing winds up on Sunday afternoon.

The event will also incorporate the inaugural Motorcycling New Zealand Interclub Challenge (with the Bryan Davidson Memorial Trophy on offer).

Each club will nominate three riders to represent them in this parallel competition.

Several of last year’s stand-out riders in the premier category – the 14-16 years’ 250cc class – will have graduated to the senior ranks over the past months, meaning it will again be extremely difficult to pick the likely winners this time around.

However, it goes without saying that clear favourite for the premier the 14-16 years’ 250cc class is last year’s winner in this class, Dunedin’s Grason Veitch, back to defend his crown, while riders expected to challenge him this time around include Whanganui’s James Rountree, Pukekawa’s Jack Dunlop and Rangiora’s Korban Paget.

There are several others too who perhaps cry out for attention in one or other of the classes, riders such as Kawerau’s Aaron Colville, Waiuku’s Nate Adams, Tauranga’s Madoc Dixon, Ashburton’s Ben Wall, Pukekawa’s Tyler Brown, Te Puke’s Kyan Loomans, Rangiora’s Cobie Bourke, Palmerston North duo Luka Freemantle and Hunter Miller, Otautau’s Jack Treloar, Ngatea’s Cole Dalley, Rongotea’s Seth Henson, New Plymouth’s Curtis King and Auckland’s Ryan Webley, among others.

On the smaller bikes, it’s worth looking out for riders such as Hamilton brothers Dylan and Nick Westgate, Waitoki’s Cole Davies, Bombay’s Reuben Smith, Invercargill pair Jack Symon and Mitchell Weir, Rongotea’s Rhys Jillings , New Plymouth’s Logan Kerrisk, Cambridge’s Jared Hannon, Darfield’s Tyler Wiremu and Christchurch’s Kase Thoms, to name just a few.

Former motocross world champion Shayne King, from New Plymouth, has two sons lining up to race this weekend and he believes this event can be a “great stepping stone” to senior domestic or even world championship glory in later years.

“New Zealand motocross riders have a great reputation overseas and winning at junior level at home can certainly be a boost to any rider wanting to travel and race abroad,” said King.

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan

Rongotea’s Seth Henson (KTM No.411), hoping to turn local track knowledge into valuable points this weekend.

With three different winners in as many events, this season’s New Zealand Enduro Championships have so far been one of the most fiercely-fought affairs in years.

Helensville’s Tom Buxton won the first of seven rounds in the Yamaha and Mitas Tyres-backed series near Whangamata in March, with Cambridge rider Dylan Yearbury clinching the win at round two near Porirua two weeks ago.

For the third round of the series near Tokoroa on Saturday it was multi-time former national champion Chris Birch, from Thames, who grabbed the top step of the podium for the premier AA course riders.

An infrequent competitor at the nationals these days, as overseas riding commitments keep him away, the 38-year-old Birch showed his undeniable class, winning the day by 44 seconds from Buxton, with another infrequent enduro competitor, Tauranga’s Ben Townley, finishing 27 seconds further back and claiming the third podium spot.

Yearbury and then Tokoroa’s Jake Wightman rounded out the top five riders on the AA course on Saturday.

In terms of the AA championship, Buxton leads by just four points from Yearbury, with Whanganui’s Seth Reardon – who finished sixth on Saturday – third overall for the series thus far, 18 points behind Yearbury.

Thames rider Chris Birch (KTM 300EXC), comfortable winner at Tokoroa on Saturday.

However, with Buxton and Yearbury both now heading away to events in Romania and Austria, it puts Reardon in a good position to take over the series lead if he performs well again at round four, near Martinborough on June 9.

Whangamata’s Jason Davis, who finished eighth on Saturday, is just one point behind Reardon in the series standings, so anything is still possible with a long way still to go before the engines are finally shut off after the final round near Hokitika on July 20.

Meanwhile, in the A course action, it was again a two-rider battle between Tokoroa’s Nick Wightman and Thames rider Natasha Cairns, with Wightman eventually winning the day overall by one minute and 25 seconds from Cairns.

With three wins from three starts now, Wightman leads the trophy chase for the A course riders, with Cairns and Masterton’s Philip Bly second and third overall respectively.

Bly finished the day fourth overall at Whangamata and at Porirua too, but finished the day seventh on the A course at Tokoroa.

“It was a fantastic day today. The course was perfect,” said Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Justin Stevenson. “The sport seems to be very strong too. We had good competitor numbers today.”

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.

 

2019 Yamaha NZ Enduro Champs calendar:

Round 1 – Saturday, March 16 – Thames
Round 2 – Saturday, April 6 – Kapiti
Round 3 – Saturday, April 20 – South Waikato
Round 4 – Sunday, June 9 – Martinborough
Round 5 – Saturday, June 29 – Bideford, Masterton
Round 6 – Friday, July 19 – Hokitika, Westland
Round 7 – Saturday, July 20 – Hokitika, Westland

 

Words and Photos by Andy McGechan

Riders’ briefing gets underway at the Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships event at Tokoroa on Saturday, with organiser Sean Clarke (left) outlining potential hazards to the riders.

Honda UK is delighted to announce a partnership with Steve Colley, which will see the former trials champion ride the Montesa Cota 300RR in his ‘Showtime’ displays.

Colley’s aptly named ‘Showtime’ exhibition sees him tackle a testing obstacle course reminiscent of a trials stage. Calling on all the skills which saw him amass thirty-plus trials titles over the course of his career, including a hat-trick of British Solo Trials Championships, Colley jumps, drops, and tricks his way around the arena in true freestyle fashion.

Going forward, Colley will perform aboard the flagship Montesa model. Pure-bred for competition, the Cota 300RR boasts a lightweight aluminium frame, which cradles a 288cc, single-cylinder, four-valve engine that has been carefully tuned to offer a tractable yet responsive torque delivery, which is necessary for trials riding.

Marking the announcement, Honda UK Off-Road Sales Manager Graham Foster-Vigors said: “Steve is a fantastic guy and a decorated champion, he’s the perfect brand ambassador, so we couldn’t be happier to see him riding a Honda during his Showtime exhibitions.”

Steve Colley also spoke on the announcement: “I’m delighted to be working with Honda and I’ve had a great time familiarising myself with the Cota 300RR, it really looks the part and I’m in no doubt it’s the perfect motorcycle for the job.”

For more information on Steve Colley’s ‘Showtime’ exhibitions, follow this link:
www.stevecolley.co.uk

Click here to see the Honda Montesa Cota 300RR:
www.honda.co.uk/motorcycles/range/off-road/montesa-cota-300rr/specifications.html

Words and Photos: HondaMoto

Something that is often overlooked when we get on a new bike is the bike’s ergonomics. Making your bike fit you is vital, but how many riders know how to accomplish it?

 

Every rider is a different shape, weight, and height, with different length arms, legs, and even fingers! Look at someone that has just gotten behind the wheel of a new car – they will always adjust the seat and rear-view mirror to suit their size.

That means every bike is going to need to be adjusted slightly differently to fit each individual rider for the best experience. Sure, you can ham-fist a bunch of different bikes if you’re just test-riding them, but if your regular bike isn’t set up perfectly for you, you won’t enjoy it nearly as much as you could.

It’d be like wearing a helmet that doesn’t fit you properly – just plain annoying after a while. And for such a simple (and free!) task, why wouldn’t you do it?

What does it mean?

Simply, making a bike fit you means adjusting the controls so you’re comfortable and can reach everything without straining. The brake and clutch levers, gear shifter, and rear brake pedal should all be set to fit your body type.

Usually, this requires a few pretty simple turns with a spanner, nothing too complicated! Having your bike set up properly can transform the ride, from being difficult and awkward to being easy and enjoyable.

The Basics

First of all, let’s look at the handlebar positioning. When you’re sitting on the bike, with your feet up on the pegs and your hands on the bars (in your normal riding position), there should be a straight line from your forearms, through your wrists, to the back of your hands.

You shouldn’t have any ‘twist’ in your wrist, left or right, to grip the bar naturally. If you do, then the handlebars need either adjusting or replacing with an aftermarket bar.

Dirt bike (single-piece) handlebars are fixed, only offering adjustment by being rotated up or down in the bar risers. Make sure any adjustments you make still clear the fuel tank at full steering lock, as well as any plastics (if your bike has them!) For optimum performance, the rise of the handlebar should be relatively in-line with the angle of the forks, so you’re not putting adverse pressure on the bars when you hit the bigger bumps, that way the forks soak up the hit – not the handlebar.

Different aftermarket bars offer different heights and end grip angles, so you’re not stuck with what the manufacturer has provided.

Lever Positioning

Once you’ve got your handlebars comfortable, now it’s time to adjust your lever height and reach. The mounts for your brake and clutch levers will be bolted to the bars, and by rotating the mount on the bar you can adjust how high the levers sit. In your normal riding position, with your fingers stretched out over the levers, your wrists should again be nice and straight, the same as if you were just gripping the bars without reaching for the levers.

Also, hopefully your levers have an inbuilt adjustment to set how far the lever is from the bar – a good setting is to have the levers at the same length as your knuckle just back from your fingertip on your pointing finger. This allows you the most pull and precision on the lever.

Something to take note of, most riders will have to decide whether they want their levers positioned in a standing or sitting riding position, as their ergonomics change depending on how you ride the bike!

Cables

Throttle and (non-hydraulic) clutch cables can be adjusted as well, and are almost always set very loose from the manufacturer. Some riders prefer to have their cables set fairly tight, to minimize free play, and prevent the throttle being snatchy or jerky.

Beware though, if you set your cables too tight, you may get unintentional throttle pull or clutch activation when you turn the bars to full lock and pull the cables tight against the bike’s frame. Make sure you leave a small amount of slackness in the cables to prevent this. The benefits of having your cables set nicely, apart from better feel, is that the mechanism will operate (either throttle or clutch) as soon as you start to work the controls – useful for when you’re trying to get back on the power as you exit a turn or need to change gear in a hurry!

Foot Controls

As every rider has different length legs, the rear brake pedal and gear shift lever on each bike needs to be adjusted to suit its rider. Riders with shorter legs will have a shallower angle of their ankle and foot position compared to riders with longer legs.

As such, the placement of the rear brake pedal and gear shift lever needs to be adjusted to suit each rider’s style. Even changing footwear can affect where you need your foot controls to be. Thicker racing style boots might mean you need to lift your gear shift lever (so you can still get your toes under the lever to upshift), compared to less ‘chunky’ style riding footwear.

Different makes and models of bikes will have different ways of adjusting the gearshift lever and rear brake pedal up and down, to suit each different rider.

Much better!

Getting your bike setup correct for your riding position will make riding more enjoyable, less of a strain on your arms and wrists, and make you much more comfortable on your bike. Take the time to work out where you need your bars, levers, and pedals to be for you and your riding style. In effect, making your bike more ergonomic will make you safer on the road as well, being less distracted by a bike that isn’t awkward to control. Making your bike ‘user-friendly’ should be the very first thing you do to it!