The racing was hot and incredibly close at the New Zealand ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) Championships in the South Island at the weekend.
There was nothing to separate the leading title contenders in the newly-created premier class after four of the scheduled seven races and it was to take something very special to decide where the title would eventually go.
That’s when national No.1 Quentin Palmer stepped it up, winning the last three premier class races of the weekend to again end up top of the podium.
Suzuki’s Palmer (pictured above) won the main prize at the ATV nationals last season and also raced away with the ATV honours at the national TT Championships near Kuratau in July. Now he’s further cemented his place on the top of the podium by winning yet another national ATV title, this time on farmland just south of Blenheim.
But it actually wasn’t all easy going for Palmer at the weekend.
“I had a real battle on my hands with Rotorua’s Jason Jepson (Yamaha),” said Palmer.
“It was a bit of a slow start for me and it wasn’t until the second day that I came right,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jepson’s challenge evaporated when his bike threw a chain and he could not finish the final race, allowing Suzuki’s Lachie Columb, of Queenstown, to steal the runner-up spot. The 26-year-old Jepson had to settle for third overall, with Christchurch teenager Sam Henderson (Suzuki) taking fourth spot.
It was a great weekend for Columb, who also raced in the 301-425 experts class, winning that title outright.
Rotorua’s Vaughan Adams won the veterans’ class title; Christchurch’s Chris Cunard took the 750cc expert grade crown and Christchurch’s Nina McVicar (Yamaha) won the women’s title ahead of Tauranga’s Emma Goldstone (Yamaha).
“The racing was close all weekend,” said Motorcycling New Zealand ATV commissioner Wade Taylor.
“Nina’s bike broke down in the first race of the weekend but then she came back to dominate, eventually winning five out her seven races.”
In junior racing, Mangawai’s Zane Renall (Honda) wrapped up the 12-16 year’s title; Mathew Wicksteed won the junior 10-14 year’s category; Christchurch’s Benjamin Morgan (Honda) won the 8-11 years’ class and Auckland’s Tyler Nairn (Pro Shark) won the mini 8-11 years’ division.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com