World Enduro Success13.09.2018
Hamish Macdonald had only really intended to dip his toes in the water, but the Canterbury motorcycle ace from West Melton has instead made enormous waves right across Europe.
He’s rapidly shown he’s no minnow after all and it’s perhaps now more accurate to describe him as a big fish on the world scene.
The nineteen year-old arrived in Europe at the start of the 2018 FIM Enduro GP World Championship season with the idea that he would simply see where he was at with his enduro riding!
A leading competitor at the top of the New Zealand national enduro scene, Hamish had already proven himself as an accomplished rider, but the step up from domestic to GP-level racing is a huge one indeed, or so most people would think.
“Spain was a big learning curve,” Hamish said. “It wasn’t what I expected, certainly not like a normal enduro back home,” he added.
At the April double-header rounds one and two of the FIM Enduro GP World Championships in Spain, Hamish put his 125cc Sherco bike near the front in the Youth Cup 125 Class, finishing runner-up in the GP event’s preliminaries, the prologue stage.
He then went on to finish the weekend third overall and his international enduro career was up and running.
Encouraged by his form, a decision was made that he push on with the world series and he prepared to tackle June’s double-header rounds three and four in Estonia.
He managed a podium finish on day two of the event (second) and finished that weekend fourth overall.
“Estonia was awesome. I struggled a lot on the first day, with some big mistakes, but I knew my speed was there and it showed on the second day,” Hamish commented.
At round five in Italy, also in June, Hamish was forced to battle with injury after a crash and he settled for sixth overall, but at least he was able to remain in touch with the championship leaders.
Then came double header rounds six and seven at Edolo in Italy on September, 1st and 2nd. Hamish really stood out here and won both days outright, his 1-1 score-card easily ensuring he would claim the No.1 step on the podium at that event, the first time since Tauranga’s Stefan Merriman in 2008 that a New Zealand rider has topped the world enduro scene.
The slick and slippery conditions at Edolo played right into Hamish’s hands and he commented that it was, “just like home”.
The next two rounds (eight and nine) are set for Méthamis, in France, on September, 22nd and 23rd, with the final race venue at Ruderdorf, in Germany, from October, 12-14.
Hamish is expected to return to New Zealand in October and is currently second overall in the Youth Cup series standings and just six points behind Chile’s Ruy Barbosa, with the three worst scores of each rider still to be dropped in the final Youth Cup calculations.
So, by the middle of next month, the Kiwi hero could be world champion… at his first attempt no less!
Hamish appreciates the support of his many sponsors, who along with the News, wish him every success in the final rounds.