Potential world motocross champions of the future descend on Taranaki region this weekend.
The KTM and Northwest Motorcycles-sponsored New Zealand Mini Motocross Championships are set to kick off near New Plymouth this weekend with a bumper crop of riders and incentive to win that stretches well beyond titles, trophies and certificates.
“The sport is really growing,” said Motorcycle New Zealand junior motocross commissioner Bryan Davidson. “A lot of people are putting a great deal of time and effort into these kids and, with a new motocross world championships being created, for riders aged 10-12 on 65cc bikes, next year in France, we could be looking at the next Kiwi world champion in Taranaki this weekend.
“Some of the young riders we see in action at the Barrett Road Motorcycle Park could be heading to Europe next year and that’s very exciting. I already have indications from three families that they will be going to race in France.”
With racing for riders as young as four on 50cc ATV bikes, right through to the “big boys and girls”, 10 and 11-year-olds on 65cc two-stroke bikes, the action at the event is bound to be intense over the two days.
The event has again attracted the cream of New Zealand’s rising talent and many are predicting it could be the strong contingent of riders from Hawke’s Bay who dominate.
Leading the charge will be Napier’s Chace Johnston, who convincingly won his 9-11 years’ 65cc class at the North Island Mini Motocross Championships earlier this month and also dominated racing at the Labour Weekend Motocross Extravaganza on Saturday.
Mangakino’s Maximum Purvis (Kawasaki) and Napier’s Dougal Morice (KTM) are expected to keep Johnston honest, while Cambridge’s Trent Liddle-Collins (KTM), Hawera’s Kieran Baker (KTM) and Whangarei’s Troy Taylor (KTM) should also feature near the front.
Other riders likely to feature include Hawke’s Bay riders Cole Blake, Reece Lister and Samuel Harrington, Taupo’s Oliver Rasmussen, Hamilton’s Caleb Richardson, Tauranga’s Chris Merriman, Rotorua’s Joshua Bourke-Palmer, Tauranga’s Jacob Hunt and Thames rider Isaac Broad, to name a few.
Taranaki Motorcycle Club president David Furze said fresh sections had been created on the circuit especially for the mini riders and he expected they would challenge the riders.
Meanwhile, local riders expected to shine include Opunake’s Liam Read, Inglewood’s Michael Loft, Okato pair Kasey Corbett and Zak Hetherington, and New Plymouth riders Sammy Megaw, Liam Honnor, Curtis King, Jonty Vink and brothers Sam and Jake Furze.
Entry is free for spectators.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com