Heavy rain overnight on Tuesday had been expected to change the complexion of the meeting, from being hot, dry and dusty in the Kinleith Forest on the opening day of racing to being cold, wet and slippery today.
However, the pumice soil drained rapidly and the sun soon baked the volcanic terrain back to conditions very similar to day one, only now the ruts had dug out to trench-like proportions.
Regardless of what the weather was dealing, the New Zealand representative senior and junior Trophy Teams set about the business of clawing their way up their respective standings.
The Trophy Team remains seventh, with Finland firmly in front, the French second, with Spain third and Sweden fourth but the New Zealanders have consolidated their position.
The Netherlands and Poland are the first major casualties, because of injuries and machine failure, and they have dropped out of the 31-nation event.
Most impressive of the Kiwis were the King brothers, Darryll (Hamilton) and Shayne (New Plymouth), who pushed themselves to the front of the leaderboard in two of today’s stages.
Darryll King (37), riding a Yamaha WR250F, won the day’s eighth stage, while Shayne King (36), riding a Honda CRF450X, won the next stage.
In the individual rating, Darryll King is now up from ninth to seventh overall in his E1 class and Shayne moved up one place to sixth overall in the E2 category.
The other riders in New Zealand’s Trophy Team are Cameron Negus (Rotorua), Paul Whibley (Pahiatua) and Lachie Columb (Queenstown).
New Zealand’s Junior Trophy Team, for riders aged under 23, also showed its fighting spirit today.
Rotorua’s Michael Phillips (Kawasaki KX250) lost nearly an hour in the bush yesterday when his drive chain became tangled in his sprocket.
That ruined any chance of an E2 class win for the 20-year-old but he continued to battle for the Junior Trophy Team and, today, rocketed through the field to go from 268th at the end of day one to 102nd today.
Other riders in this four-man junior representative squad are Jason Davis (Whangamata), Adrian Smith (Thames) and Hamilton’s Karl Power.
The youngest rider at the event, Hokianga’s Damon Nield (16), continued to impress. Riding for the three-man Maungatoroto club team, Nield went from 105th after day one to 87th today and completed two tyre changes and cleaned the air filter and replaced the engine oil all within his allotted 15-minute post-race work period.
“It’s the first time I’ve done a multi-day event like this and I’m feeling okay at the moment, he said, though keenly aware that he is only one-third of the way through the event.
A technical glitch meant the computer had spat out incorrect results at the ISDE at the end of racing on day one.
The amended results did not affect New Zealand’s representative Senior Trophy Team, which remained seventh overall at the start of day two today.
On corrected results, France led at the start of racing on day two and Finland was second, just half a minute behind, with Spain third and Australia fourth.
Unofficial Trophy Team standings after Day Two of the ISDE:
1. Finland; 2. France, 3m54s behind the leaders; 3. Spain, 6m12s; 4. Sweden, 7m56s; 5. Italy, 8m32s; 6. Australia,8m.53s; 7. New Zealand, 10m36s; 8. Great Britain, 21m01s; 9. Slovakia, 24m29s; 10. USA, 24m54s.
Unofficial Junior Trophy Team Positions
(under 23 years)
1. USA*; 2. France, 1m21s behind the leaders; 3. Germany, 3m27s; 4. Australia, 3m35s; 5. Finland, 3m38s; 6. Italy, 4m24s; 7. Great Britain, 6m44s; 8. Netherlands, 8m24s; 9. Spain, 9m31s; 10. New Zealand, 11m32s.
* Russell Bobbit, Kurt Caselli, Ricky Dietrick, David Pearson
For instant, real-time 2006 International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) timing information, final start list, renalites and retirements, please log on to this address: www.rally-vysledky.com/rallysport/2006/6d/1.html