PWR YAMAHA’S YEOMAN AND WHIBLEY TOP CLASSES AFTER TWO ENDURO ROUNDS
The quick-fire 2022 Yamaha NZ Enduro Championships’ double-header rounds saw PWR Yamaha’s young gun Wil Yeoman rise, not only to the top of his class, but also very nearly to the top of the overall podium.
The Taupo-based 17-year-old signalled once again that he’s swiftly ascending the national off-road motorcycling ranks when he slotted into second overall behind last year’s outright champion Dylan Yearbury, following the Saturday and Monday rounds near Whanganui.
Yeoman recently finished third overall in the national cross country series and won his 2 Stroke Over class but for the enduro championships’ three rounds he has switched to the 4 Stroke Yamaha YZ250FX. The move to the more powerful Yamaha is to prepare him for the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in southern France at the end of August. His PWR Yamaha teammates Tommy Watts and Seth Reardon will also join the three Kiwi teams heading over to do battle against the world’s top enduro riders.
Wil says the opening round on Saturday was held on hilly farmland and pine forest at Upokongaro, which made for a “tricky day of racing in very tough conditions.” While he enjoyed the more open farm test, Yeoman “struggled a little bit in the tighter tests in the trees” but still managed to win his AA – E2 0-300 4Stroke class and finish 4th overall.
Competing again two days later, the Moonlight venue hosted tracks weaving through the tight bush, which suited his style more, Yeoman says.
“I was happy with my times in the tests and enjoyed the track. It was great to get a 2nd overall and another 1st in class. Thank you to all the volunteers out on the tests that make these events possible.”
PWR Team Manager Paul Whibley made a return to racing after 10 months and also got back onboard his Yamaha YZ450FX. He was stoked and a little pleasantly surprised with his 2nd overall result in the first round.
“With a 2nd and 5th overall [on Monday] and two wins in my vet class, I was happy with those results as I haven't been doing a lot of riding. The new bike was working good and my fitness, while not great, got me through two tough days,” Whibley says.
“The Whanganui Club put on a great event with two nice tests. One in farmland and one in the forest, where some nice ruts formed, adding to the challenge. Round two was at Moonshine near Wellington and with the usual slick and rocky terrain, I think we were lucky the early rain cleared,” Whibley says.
Saturday was a poignant day for PWR Yamaha’s Reardon, whose late father, Brian, won the enduro when it was last staged at this Upokongaro venue in 1985.
The Whanganui rider says he enjoyed the tests and “rode a cautious race and stayed on my bike the whole day.”
“The track was technical through the forest and had a fast pace through the farmland TTs. I hoped for a better result that day as I felt good on the bike, but settled for 10th overall and 3rd in the AA – E2 0-300 4Stroke class.”
Reardon slipped down one class position after the second round on Monday but moved up four spots overall to finish 6th.
“The day started off with some showers which roughed up the track and it was a bit slippery through loose rock and clay. I felt really good on the bike and through some of the fast paced TTs,” he says.
PWR’s Hawkes Bay-based rider Watts, who recently finished runner-up in the national cross country championship was forced to sit out these first two enduro rounds due to illness. He is hoping to recover in time to compete at the final round in Martinborough this Sunday, June 12.
Despite the previously-scheduled two South Island events being cancelled, riders are still able to discard their one worst result in terms of claiming an individual class win. However, all rounds are counted towards the overall championship.