It was Waikato versus the Bay of Plenty at this year’s New Zealand Motorcycle TT Championships near Kuratau at the weekend.
Two men from Cambridge and two men from Taupo were the key riders at the Bike Torque-sponsored New Zealand Motorcycle TT Championships on rolling farmland at the south-western tip of Lake Taupo.
Waikato’s Damien King (Yamaha), the reigning national motocross champion in two classes, and former national motocross champion Mike Cotter (Kawasaki), also from Cambridge, were virtually inseparable at the top of the glamour open class after the first of two days of racing, but King picked up the pace on day two to finish the championship on top, a solid 11 points in front.
“I was runner-up in this class last year, so it was good to come here and take it away this time,” said the 33-year-old King afterwards.
Taupo’s Scott Moir (KTM) also impressed, finishing the weekend third overall in this class, just four points behind Cotter (pictured above).
King also dominated the 201-250cc two-stroke class, unbeaten in all but one race, and he took that title as well, finishing the weekend 27 points ahead of Taupo teenager Cameron Dillon (Honda).
The winning margin in this class probably flattered King — Dillon had presented a strong challenge to King early on but a crash in one of Sunday’s races cost him dearly.
Cotter raced this class as well, the 34-year-old finishing third overall.
A three-class ironman, King also won the up-to-200cc two-stroke class, this time ahead of Mangakino’s Kayne Lamont (Yamaha) and Auckland KTM rider James Ainsworth.
The all terrain vehicle (ATV) racing was, unsurprisingly, dominated by national champion Quentin Palmer, the Suzuki rider from Taumarunui unbeaten in all five races over the two days.
He had also run away with the open class title at this event last season.
The events attracted a Who’s Who of Kiwi motorcycling talent, including road-race specialists such as supermotard ace Toby Summers, of Auckland, and former World Superbike Championships frontrunner Aaron Slight, of Masterton.
Summers (Yamaha) finished runner-up to Pukekohe’s Craig Brown (Kawasaki) in the over-35 years’ veterans’ class.
Slight was seriously out-muscled in his over-40 years’ veterans class campaign, his 250cc Honda no match for the 450cc machines of so many of his rivals. Even so, Slight finished the weekend a respectable ninth overall.
This senior veterans class was won by Whakatane’s Darren Capill (Yamaha) with former national 125cc motocross champion Leon Andrew (Honda) taking the No.2 spot, just six points behind Capill.
LEADING standings after the New Zealand Motorcycle TT Championships near Kuratau at the weekend:
Open class bikes:
1. Damien King (Cambridge, Yamaha) 119 points;
2. Mike Cotter (Cambridge, Kawasaki) 108;
3. Scott Moir (Taupo, KTM) 104.
201-250cc four-stroke class:
1. Damien King (Cambridge, Yamaha) 120 points;
2. Cam Dillon (Taupo, Honda) 93;
3. Mike Cotter (Cambridge, Kawasaki) 89.
Up-to-200cc two-stroke class:
1. Damien King (Cambridge, Yamaha) 122 points;
2. Kayne Lamont (Mangakino, Yamaha) 113;
3. James Ainsworth (Auckland, KTM) 92.
Veterans, over-35 years:
1. Craig Brown (Pukekohe, Kawasaki) 119 points;
2. Toby Summers (Auckland, Yamaha) 112;
3. Geoff Hall (Taupo, Yamaha) 94.
Veterans, over-40 years:
1. Darren Capill (Whakatane, Yamaha) 116 points;
2. Leon Andrew (Feilding, Honda) 110;
3. Greg Ngeru (New Plymouth, Honda) 96.
1. Emma Davis (Taupo, Honda) 100 points;
2. Alex Dillon (Taupo, Honda) 86;
3. Letitia Alabaster (Raetihi, Yamaha) 76.
Junior 12-16 years, 125cc and 250cc:
1. Kayne Lamont (Mangakino, Yamaha) 114 points;
2. Isaiah McGoldrick (Rangiora, KTM) 104;
3. Bjarne Fredrickson (Taupo, Honda) 84.
Junior 13-16 years, 85cc:
1. Micah McGoldrick (Rangiora, KTM) 113 points;
2. Courtney Duncan (Otago, Yamaha) 103;
3. Campbell King (Otago, Honda) 100.
Junior 8-12 years, 85cc:
1. Hadleigh Knight (Atiamuri, KTM) 119 points;
2. Dylan Walsh (Christchurch, KTM) 116;
3. Sam Cuthbertson (Otago, Honda) 95.
1. Quentin Palmer (Taumarunui, Suzuki) 125 points;
2. Ian Ffitch (Amberley, Honda) 103;
3. Jason Jepson (Rotorua, Yamaha) 96;
ATV over-40 years, 0-750cc:
1. Craig Ridgley (Auckland, KTM) 122 points;
2. Vaughan Adams (Thames, Suzuki) 107;
3. Grahame Strong (Napier, Suzuki) 90.
1. Zane Renall (Mangawhai, Honda) 125 points;
2. Andrew Vincent (Papakura, Honda) 110;
3. Mark Goldstone (Tauranga, Yamaha) 94.
1. Emma Goldstone (Tauranga, Yamaha) 125 points;
2. Bridget Tapper (Whitford, Yamaha) 110;
3. Amy Vincent (Auckland, Honda) 100.
Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
Full story and more photos in your next issue of KIWI RIDER magazine.