SEPTEMBER 5, 2016: The racing was close at the second round of three in the Dirt Guide Cross-country Series near Atiamuri on Sunday, probably a little bit closer than it needed to be.
Te Awamutu’s Daniel White was in typically-rampant form, shooting off the start line quickly on his Wilks-Penny Motors Kawasaki KX250F and then rapidly increasing the gap between himself and the chasing bunch of riders.
It wasn’t long before 14-year-old defending Dirt Guide junior grade champion White had established a lead of more than a minute over his nearest challengers, Cambridge rider Beau Taylor and Te Awamutu’s Rachael Archer.
But that’s when disaster struck when a bolt worked loose, leaving White without the use of his rear brakes.
As the race wound towards a conclusion, a more conservative approach was needed by White so that he could avoid over-shooting corners and second-placed Archer began to make headway, closing the gap on White.
In the end, time ran out before White was forced to really defend his position, the Kawasaki ace eventually finishing the 90-minute race just 26 seconds ahead of Archer.
Not only was the result good enough for White to make it two outright wins from two starts, it also means he remains top in the battle-within-a-battle for 12-16 years’ 250cc four-stroke class honours.
Because White has now won both rounds thus far, while Archer has twice finished runner-up, it means White needs only to finish ahead of, or even just one place behind, Archer at next month’s final round for him to take the trophy.
“I had been over a minute in front, even after stopping twice in the pits to change goggles and to try to fix the rear brakes, but I got the job done in the end,” said White.
“I know I have two wins from two starts in the series now, but I really can’t afford any mistakes at the final round.”
White leads Archer by six points for overall honours and he leads Reporoa’s Luke Roder by 12 points for the 250cc class honours, so those battles will go down to the wire at the third and final round in forestry at Tar Hill, just south of Tokoroa, on October 2.
The top three finishers in the mini grade on Sunday were Rotorua’s Daniel Bates, Cambridge’s Lewy Taylor and New Plymouth’s Josh Houghton.
The two-hour senior race followed immediately after the junior race and Coatesville’s Sam Greenslade was the winner, crossing the line ahead of Titirangi’s Callan May and Taikorea’s Paul Whibley.
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com