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Kiwi Yamaha Ace On The Way Up In The USA


JUNE 8, 2015: New Zealand's Callan May remains inside the top 10 in his class after eight rounds of the Grand National Cross-country Championships in the United States.

The off-road Yamaha rider from Titirangi headed north from his South Carolina base to tackle this latest round of the series at Ohio determined to at least maintain, or perhaps even improve upon, his top-10 ranking in the 13-round series and, after a gruelling day in the saddle, he managed to do just that.

May (Yamaha YZ250F) is 10th overall and just seven points behind ninth-ranked rider Austin Lee, from Indiana, in the XC2 (250cc) class standings for the series.

The race at Ohio was won overall by XC1 (open class) defending champion and 2015 championship leader Kailub Russell, with fellow American Ryan Sipes second and Grant Baylor third, while American trio Nick Davis (eighth overall), Jason Thomas (ninth) and Ricky Russell (11th) took the top three spots in the XC2 class.

"I had recently been training and riding with (fellow GNCC competitors) Jason Thomas and Josh Strang leading up to this event, so all week we rode slick, hard-pack dirt tracks to prepare ourselves for the race this weekend.

"Ohio is known to be a very hard pack and slick track," he explained.

"I arrived at the track on Saturday night after some dinner and a good night's sleep and I was feeling ready to go. But I didn't get a very good jump off the line and found myself in around 14th position.

"I made quick work using a few lines I had spotted while walking the track i the morning, and I made some crucial passes which was good.

"I came round in 10th on the first lap. I was happy to see that on the screen as I have been further back off the start in all the previous races this year.

"I have been struggling mentally, applying too much pressure to myself at the beginning of the races, so today I took it easy, kept my breathing in time and kept a clear head.

"I caught a number of riders on the third lap and was up to eighth.

"I then had battles with Jesse Groemm and Corey Buttrick all the way to the last lap. I went into the last lap in fifth place, six seconds ahead of Buttrick and I rode smoothly and created a gap with enough room to ride easy and make no mistakes.

"So after a long race I finished 13th overall and fifth in the XC2 class. I'm super happy with the result and want to build on it for the rest of the season."

The next round of the series is set for the Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia on June 21.

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,



Andy McGechan Ltd

Phone 06-758-5182