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Elwin Does It Again, This Time On A 250cc YAMAHA‏

 

JULY 14, 2015: Auckland-based Sarah Elwin knew she'd have a fight on her hands to defend her national women's crown at the 2015 edition of the New Zealand Motorcycle TT Championships near Kuratau at the weekend.

An impressive array of riders had lined up at this 16th annual Bike Torque Yamaha-sponsored event in a bid to wrest the crown away from the 20-year-old Elwin and she was on a different bike to the one she'd used in all her previous campaigns.

Elwin, who now lives in Papatoetoe but still loves to call Taihape her home, rolled her new Yamaha YZ250F four-stroke bike to the line at Kuratau this year, a very different proposition from the Yamaha YZ125 two-stroke she'd raced to victory the previous two seasons and also raced to win the national women's motocross title in 2013.

But Elwin's always been fast on a dirt bike and she's a fast learner too, so was soon to grips with the different handling and power delivery of the 250cc four-stroke.

"It was a tough weekend. I was braking too soon for the corners when I should have allowed for the fact that engine-braking would slow me down anyway," said Elwin, who works in Auckland as a motorcycle accessories salesperson and supported in her racing by Motorcycle Central in Takapuna, The Dirt Guide, MX Antix, NDub Design, BikesportNZ.com, Moss Institute and Yamaha-Motor New Zealand.

"I had a rocky first race on Saturday when I got tangled with one of my main rivals (Thames rider Natasha Cairns). Her front wheel got stuck in my rear wheel's swing-arm when we collided in a corner. We both ended up way back in the field, but I managed to get back up to sixth place.

"Another top rival, (Taupo's) Alex Dillon, won that race and Natasha (Cairns) also finished ahead of me and so I thought that might have meant my championship bid was all over.

"I just kept doing what I had to do ... trying to win races ... and didn't even look at how the points were adding up. I knew it was tight at the top though."

She needn't have worried - with a 6-2-1-1 score-line after four of her five races, Elwin was in command and, when she also won the final race of the weekend, the title was again in her hands.

Her win at the weekend meant she'd made it three national TT titles in a row and the news just gets worse for her rivals because she has vowed to be back again next season to defend her crown for a record fourth time.

Meanwhile, other class winner at the weekend were Taupo's Brad Groombridge (who collected both the MX1 and the enduro class titles); Tauranga's Aaron Wiltshier (MX2); Otorohanga's Aaron King (senior 125cc); Kotemaori's Reece Lister (junior 12-16 years' 125cc and 14-16 years' 250cc); Oparau's James Scott (junior 13-16 years' 85cc); Matamata's Brodie Connolly (junior 8-12 years' 85cc); Taupiri's Mark Fuller (veterans over-50 years); Whakatane's Darren Capill (veterans over-45 years); Motueka's Josh Coppins (veterans over-35 years); Taupo's Vinnie Bol (intermediates over-300cc); Morrinsville's Shane Tunnicliffe (intermediates under-300cc); New Plymouth's Greg Ngeru (classic bikes); Stratford's Cameron Keegan (clubmans); Taupiri's Zak Fuller (junior support); Kaiwaka's Cullen Curtis (ATV 450cc production); Auckland's Levi Nairn (ATV 12-16 years); Auckland's Bill Burborough (ATV veterans over-40 years); Rotorua's Emma Goldstone (ATV support and women).

Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com