West Melton rider clinches second world enduro crown

West Melton’s Hamish Macdonald. Photo: Supplied
West Melton’s Hamish Macdonald. Photo: Supplied
Canterbury rider Hamish Macdonald has clinched another world championship title.

He wrapped up the FIM Junior Enduro GP World Championships title, his second consecutive world enduro crown, in Portugal at the weekend, a thrilling book-end to the FIM 125cc Youth Enduro GP World Championships title he won last year.

It has been a stellar season for the young man - he had also been home in New Zealand briefly to win the 2020 New Zealand Enduro Championships title outright before heading back to Europe in July.

Macdonald was only back in the country at that time because of international chaos caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But it meant he was able to race the full Kiwi series for the first time since 2017.

The Sherco rider’s build-up for the 2020 world championships began immediately.

"Once the borders reopened and racing rescheduled, I was on a plane and back to England. The team had a race bike in England and I was straight into the final British Sprint Championship rounds managing 3 of the 4 outright wins and taking the E2 British Sprint Title.

"To change things up a bit and push the fitness, I took on the big boys Graeme Jarvis and Billy Bolt in the British Extreme Championship round, a bit of fun and I was happy to jump on the podium with them," he said.

The 21-year-old from West Melton, near Christchurch, has clearly followed in the wheel-tracks of such Kiwi enduro legends as Stefan Merriman, Chris Birch and Paul Whibley, packing up his helmet a boots and headed off-shore to seek fame and fortune for the first time in 2018.

While the accumulation of fortune might have to wait a while longer, the winning of fame happened almost immediately for the Canterbury man.

This year was only his third season in Europe, but the teenager from Christchurch had already set tongues wagging on his debut in the youth class of the FIM Enduro GP World Championships in 2018.

Finishing no worse that sixth through his debut season in 2018 and celebrating two wins in Italy, Macdonald wound up a close second overall in the youth series, finishing behind Chile's Ruy Barbosa and ahead of Britain's Daniel Mundell, and last year he was just as impressive.

He ended his 2019 campaign with an 18-point winning margin over Italy's Matteo Pavoni, with another Italian, Claudio Spanu, claiming third overall, while Frenchman Nathan Bererd (Husqvarna) and then Spain's Sergio Navarro (Husqvarna) completed the top five for 2019.

This year it was his own Sherco team-mate, French rider Théo Espinasse, who threatened him most, but Macdonald eventually clinched the 2020 FIM Junior Enduro GP World Championships title at the final round in Portugal at the weekend.

- By Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

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