KTM Stamps Authority on Nationals 23 Jul 2012
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With six titles in the bag, KTM is celebrating today after the New Zealand Enduro Championships wrapped up on a treacherous forestry course near Taupo on Saturday.
The popular bike company with its roots in Austria claimed half of the 12 titles on offer and it could so easily have been seven national crowns, but for a sprinkling of bad luck for expert over-200cc two-stroke class contender Mike Skinner, of Auckland.
Perhaps the story of the weekend was that of Te Awamutu’s Kevin Archer (KTM 500XC-WS).
Out of the sport for more than five years, the 45-year-old farmer returned to racing this year and was soon riding again with all the style and strength of the seasoned exponent that he is.
It seemed his skills were just as sharp as when he hung up his helmet all those years before as he marched off with the expert veterans’ (over-40 years) title, fending off a stiff challenge from Kiwi international and multi-time champion Sean Clarke, of Tokoroa, in the process.
“I had to give up the sport a few years back to devote more time to the farm,” Archer explained. “But I felt I still needed something to enjoy and my lovely wife Lynne told me this year to go and get a bike and get back into the sport.
“I went off to race the Romaniacs Extreme Enduro in Romania earlier this season too and finished 15th overall among all the professionals. I was the oldest one out there.”
Archer is now also looking at teaming up with a group of friends to tackle the big annual Baja cross-country race in the Mexican desert in November.
Meanwhile, it was a bitter end to the domestic enduro season for Skinner (KTM 300 EXC).
Skinner had been on target to claim the class win and he was also in line for outright series honours as riders lined up for the start of the day in Taupo.
But, in the end, Skinner had a “tough day at the office” at Taupo and managed only 12th overall on the day, losing out on the overall crown to Mokau’s Adrian Smith and giving up the class title to Hokianga’s Mitchell Nield.
But the news was much brighter for the riders of KTM and Husaberg bikes in the various other categories, these riders claiming top honours at the end of the brutal five-event series.
Atiamuri's Tony McLaren (KTM 200 EXC) won the intermediate under-200cc class title; Kaukapakapa's Wayne Bolger (Husaberg FE450) won the intermediate over-300cc four-stroke class title; Thames' rider Natasha Cairns (Husaberg TE125) claimed the crown in the women's class; Putaruru's Phil Skinner (KTM 250 XC) won the intermediate veterans' 40-49 years' class and Whitianga's Tony Lingard (KTM 350 enduro) was champion in the intermediate veterans' over-50 years' class.
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