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Kiwi Rider On Target For A Top-10 Result In The USA


MAY 13, 2015: New Zealand's Callan May has bounced back from adversity and the off-road motorcycle racer is now making his way back in to title contention in the United States.

The 22-year-old Yamaha rider from Titirangi, in Auckland, was unlucky to suffer mechanical problems and finish only 37th overall and 18th in his XC2 (250cc) class at the first of 13 rounds of the Grand National Cross-Country Championship (GNCC) series in Florida in March - forcing him to play catch-up at the rounds that followed - but he has steadily been gaining ground ever since.

In just his second season of GNCC racing, May has shown both tenacity and resourcefulness to push aside that initial disappointment and begin the fight-back, managing to finish 18th overall (ninth in class), 19th (again ninth in class) and 14th (seventh in class) at the rounds that followed in Washington, Georgia, in Morganton, North Carolina and at Big Buck Creek in South Carolina.

He struggled to finish only 29th overall and 16th in class at round five of the series at Springville last month, but he bounced back at round six in Odessa, New York, at the weekend, fighting through traffic from dead last to finish 17th overall and claim 10th in class.

He has moved up from 10th after round five to now be ninth equal in the XC2 class standings for the series.

"It was a 15-hour drive from my base in South Carolina, the event at a new venue for the 2015 season," explained the young Kiwi.

"The majority of the track was very dry and fast with lots of euro-style field sections that were extremely dusty.

"I finally got an awesome jump off the line and felt like was going to be my best start ever but my bad luck struck again in the second corner with a rider going down in front of me while I was in around fourth position, taking me down with him. The rest of the field took off, putting me in last place.

"Since it had been so dry, the track was so dusty. In fact, it was one of the dustier races I have ever done. So taking some risks, I rode through it and started making passes. On the first lap I passed a good number of riders. The track was technical and rocky in sections but also fast and flowing in others.

"Once I got some clear air, I went to work and managed to come home in 10th in XC2 and 17th overall. Although my result wasn't too great, I felt as if I was riding really well and I was happy with that. I have also gained some confidence from the weekend, knowing I can get good starts and I was putting out good lap times.

"I'm looking forward to the next race in two weeks' time in Masontown, West Virginia."

Although it was another tough day at the office for the Kiwi Yamaha ace,   he remains on target to finish the 2015 series among the top 10.

Meanwhile, American Chris Bach celebrated his first career overall victory when he won the day at Odessa, although series leader Kailub Russell finished runner-up to maintain his stranglehold on the XC1 (450cc) class championship lead.

The 2015 GNCC series resumes May 23-24 with the Rocky Mountain Mountaineer Run in Masontown, West Virginia.

May is supported by Yamaha Motor New Zealand, Kiwi Rider magazine,, MotoSR, Golden Tyres, Fox, Graphic Creation, GYTR and Yamalube.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan,