A see-saw battle has begun to develop in this year’s New Zealand Enduro Championships, with two men now sharing the top spot in the premier grade.

Helensville’s Tom Buxton won the first of seven rounds in the Yamaha and Mitas Tyres-backed series near Whangamata last month, with Cambridge rider Dylan Yearbury finishing runner-up, but those positions swapped around at round two near Porirua on Saturday.

Yearbury ruled the roost on the steep forestry course off Moonshine Road, Kapiti, edging out Buxton by just 16 seconds on the timing clocks. 

That means, with both riders hogging the top two spots thus far, they share the bragging rights, although there is still a long way to go.

Third overall on the premier AA course on Saturday was Wainuiomata’s Jake Whitaker, with Stratford’s Josh Hunger and Whanganui’s Seth Reardon completing the top five.

In terms of the championship, Yearbury and Buxton jointly lead by 14 points from Whangamata’s Jason Davis, who finished eighth on Saturday, with Reardon just one point further back and Whitaker another point back in fifth overall. 

“I was feeling good on the bike and enjoyed the special tests at Moonshine,” said the 24-year-old Yearbury afterwards. “I had no problems today and quite enjoyed the track. It was tight in places and hard work, but I liked it.”

Meanwhile, in the A course battle, it was Tokoroa’s Nick Wightman who led the way at Moonshine, crossing the finish line 46 seconds ahead of runner-up rider Ethan McBreen, from Omihi, while Thames rider Natasha Cairns was third overall on the day.

With back-to-back wins in the series thus far, Wightman leads the trophy chase for the A course riders, with Cairns and Masterton’s Philip Bly second and third overall respectively after two rounds.

Bly finished the day fourth overall at Whangamata and at Moonshine too.

“It was interesting to note that, in the junior support class, 13-year-old Wil Yeoman, from Taupo, opted to ride the full A course rather than the shortened junior course,” said Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Justin Stevenson. “If he was eligible for the senior grades, he would have finished third overall in the A competition, and beating (Kiwi international moto trials rider) Dylan Ball by a considerable margin. He is one to watch for the future.”

The Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships next takes riders to the South Waikato region for round three in two weeks’ time, on Saturday, April 20. 

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 Photo by Andy McGechan

Cambridge rider Dylan Yearbury, now equal first in the 2019 New Zealand Enduro Championships after two of seven rounds.