A huge crowd of over 10, 000 fans witnessed Rory Mead ride to victory over an international field in a new and unique event for NZ. Last weekend an entire city block was transformed into a technical and challenging enduro track that pushed man and machine to the limits.
Mead stayed in front of the pack and dominated the final from the start. As other competitors tangled at the first and second obstacles Mead got a good break from the pack and never looked back. Crowd favourite and KTM rider Chris Birch (NZ) rode hard to gain back time on Mead’s early lead but had to settle for second. The German BMW rider Andreas Lettenbichler was just behind Birch taking third.
“So it looks as if I’m off to Erzberg. I only rode this event in Auckland for a bit of fun. I didn’t expect this” said stunned Mead afterwards, the enormity of his win slowly sinking in. Mead will accompany Red Bull athlete Chris Birch as a wild card entry in the Erzberg Rodeo next week, which is known as the toughest enduro race in the world.
Birch is back to compete at Erzberg after an impressive 8th place last year from a field of 1500 riders with only 27 who reached the finish line.
Birch was philosophical in defeat. “I achieved what I set out to do, bringing my sport to mainstream New Zealand. I didn’t win but, in a way, I still did. Enduro racing is typically carried out a long way from any population base. Today was very different. I was just too tired to make a race of it with Rory in the end I pushed hard to catch up but ran out of energy.”
With riders from NZ, Germany and Mexico this year the challenge to take the title next year will draw many more international riders all keen to take on the field at the next Red Bull City Scramble.