TT finish a nail-biter

The start of the Ashburton Motorcycle Club's MX2 race one event during TT racing at Hatfield, near Rakaia.

Sam McPherson’s return to TT racing at the weekend saw him battle it out for a top place finish in his first competitive event in five years.

He placed second racing against 16 other competitors in a closely fought race at the front against fellow MX2 rider Trent Garland.

Garland won by 2.359 seconds with a time of 9.03.091. McPherson’s time was 9.05.450; third was Jack Stanford (9.18.823).

The TT, at Hatfield, near Rakaia, on Sunday was run by the Ashburton Motorcycle Club as one of their Wheels Weeks Plus programme events.

The other is a 200km motorcycle road tour on May 14. It is open to anyone with a roadworthy bike to attend.

Sam McPherson, following his return to TT racing, was stoked with his first outing in the Ashburton Motorcycle Club’s TT event.

McPherson, 22, covered in dust and battered and bruised, was really stoked with his race.

He had been TT racing since he was 13 years old thanks to the “bank of mum and dad” .

But took five years off after he started university. It was then his parents also stopped paying for his sport, he laughed.

Now working at Waipara – and funding his own way – McPherson had made a return to TT.

He did not finish in the second race of the day, but went on to place third in the final race giving him an overall standing of five at the end of the day on 42 points.

There were 230 entries in 13 classes throughout the day.

Sam McPherson had the lead during the race, but was narrowly pipped at the post by winner Trent Garland.

McPherson was riding a Yamaha YZ 250 FX, which he bought the week earlier.

The event was its first run and the Yamaha had held its own.

McPherson, a member of the North Canterbury Dirt Riders Club, was a former junior cross country national runner up and South Island junior champion day “back in the day”.

In TT racing he used to be a regular competitor in the MX1 class but did not consider himself fit enough now for the bigger 450cc bikes so had changed his bike capacity and was riding the 250cc.

It was not his dream bike, but it was “the pick of the bunch at the moment”.

There was likely to be a bit of suspension work to set it up right after a few runs, he said.

“I was happy to get second. It was close,” he said.