Hollis & Roberts lead Yamaha’s ISDE charge
Hollis and Roberts lead Yamaha Racing's trans-Tasman ISDE charge
Yamaha Racing’s Chris Hollis and Anthony Roberts have led the way for the manufacturer at the Taupo International Six Day Enduro (ISDE), with both riders finishing within the top 15 of the E1 class as the event wrapped up yesterday.
Riders played the game of consistency, and aimed to deliver mistake free runs in order to maintain a strong finishing position.
Australian export and Yamaha star Stefan Merriman excelled, fighting his way to 3rd overall in E2.
It was also a fantastic showing for the remaining team of Ballards Yamaha Motorex entrants, who displayed their prowess with strong individual performances through the challenging plantation stages across unusual pumice and volcanic soil surfaces.
Hollis was in prime form for the event and was a contender from day one, despite a small mishap in the opening test.He bounced back quickly, setting a number of fast test times and ending the opening day in 10th position.
It was to be a battle against the elements for the riders as the rain set in for the second day, but the wet conditions actually offered some relief, eliminating flying dust and dirt and forcing riders to find every available inch of traction on the slippery surfaces.Roberts revelled in the conditions, and while he couldn’t match the pace of his Yamaha teammate, felt as though he had run a competitive ISDE meeting, enjoying the support from Australian fans.
"It felt like it was a good six days. My Yamaha worked perfectly, the team worked well and the MA supporters were really good, I thought it was a really good event," he said.
"The course was challenging but fun, there was a real mix of changing terrain and conditions to deal with and it really tested fitness levels."
"There was awesome support for the Aussies – there were a few guys out there that just went from test to test with yellow and green wigs on and they were cheering. So it was pretty good to having that level of support, quite different to our events back home.”
Both Roberts and Hollis maintained their day 5 positions after the sixth and final day of competition, which rounded out with a motocross event at Digger McEwen Park. While not the forte of either of the riders, they put in solid performances to keep Yamaha in close contention and finished the event as the two top Australians in the E1 class.
Hollis was rapt with the performance, saying it was a great way to finish up a very competitive year.
“For myself it was a really good event, very enjoyable, certainly the biggest challenge a rider can face,” said Hollis.
“I surprised myself on a number of days, and when I knuckled down I found I really had the measure of some of the top guys and really gave them a run.”
“A major contributor to my success over the ISDE was definitely the performance and reliability of my Yamaha, after six long days of competition it was still running faultlessly.”
Certainly not to be outdone in the E1 class was Ballards Yamaha Motorex young charger Josh Ballard, who kept some of the more experienced riders guessing with a number of strong performances.
In fact, Ballard stormed home as the second-fastest Australian rider in the E1 class at the day 6 motocross event, a monumental effort and a sure sign of things to come on both the national and international scene. Josh’s father and Ballards Yamaha Motorex Team Principal Geoff Ballard proved age was of little barrier, and kept the young guns guessing with day after day of consistent performances.
The all-conquering Alison Parker, Australian endurance champion, upstaged the majority of her female competition and left scores of male riders in her dust in the E1 class.
Parker improved a number of places on the final day of competition to close out the ISDE in 122nd in E1.
“The 2006 ISDE has been a fantastic event and I have enjoyed myself immensely, it has certainly been the biggest challenge of the year and I am pleased to have had a strong finish.”
Jarrod Bewley also produced a strong finish in the E2 class, rounding out the event in 22nd position on his Yamaha.
New Zealand Motocross star and multiple Australian title holder Darryll King’s run was cut short on day 3, with the veteran being forced to retire with a shoulder injury.King was disappointed to exit his home event at the half-way mark, and felt he had a lot extra in reserve for the second half of the event.
“It’s obviously a major blow to go out like this at home, especially after having such a strong run previously at Digger McEwen Park, it would have been a good final day in front of local support,” King said. “It’s a risk we all run however, and I was extremely satisfied with the performance of my bike throughout the days and tests I was able to to complete.”