Whanganui’s Seth Reardon has leapt to the top of the standings after four of seven rounds in this season’s New Zealand Enduro Championships at the weekend.
The 21-year-old apprentice engineer had finished no worse than sixth in the early rounds of the 2019 Yamaha and Mitas Tyres-sponsored series, but his outright win at the farmland property on Ruakokoputuna Road, south of Martinborough, on Sunday was a breakthrough moment for Reardon, his first enduro win at senior national championship level, and it has elevated him to the top of the points table.
There have been four different winners so far this season and Reardon will be looking now to consolidate his advantage at the next round of the series near Masterton in three weeks’ time, on June 29.
With the points from only six of the seven rounds to be counted – riders to discard their one worst result – the race for the championship win outright, and for the various class titles too, could still go down to the wire at the double-header final weekend, rounds six and seven, at Hokitika, in Westland, in July.
Helensville’s Tom Buxton won round one of the series near Whangamata in March, Cambridge rider Dylan Yearbury clinched the win at round two near Porirua in April and Thames rider Chris Birch topped the podium at round three near Tokoroa two weeks later, but it was Reardon who coped best with the slippery conditions near Martinborough on Sunday.
Manawatu’s Paul Whibley, a two-time former cross-country champion in the United States, finished runner-up on Sunday, with Eketahuna’s Charlie Richardson claiming the third podium spot. Reardon won all four of the day’s high-speed “special tests”, but ended the full day’s racing just 26 seconds ahead of Whibley, with Richardson only another 47 seconds further back.
“It was a beautiful day, perfect weather throughout, although the soil was somewhat soft,” said Motorcycling New Zealand (MNZ) enduro commissioner Justin Stevenson. “Everyone seemed to enjoy the course. We had 112 riders enter and not one injury to report. The next round at Masterton may be a bit wet too, but that’s to be expected in winter. Seth (Reardon) is certainly in the running to take the overall title this year, but a lot can still happen in the three rounds that remain.”
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