A fierce five-way battle for premier class glory had fans on their feet at the 2010 Suzuki New Zealand ATV Championships near Te Puke over Labour Weekend.
In the end it was local favourite Jason Jepson who won the tussle, seeing off stern challenges from Queenstown’s Lachie Columb (Suzuki) and Amberley’s Ian Ffitch (Honda) to take the main prize. Canterbury’s Mark Stone and Auckland’s Mark Kiely were also in the thick of the premier grade action.
It was perhaps sweet justice for Rotorua’s Jepson who missed out on the title last season when his bike threw a chain during his crucial final race and he instead had to settle for third.
But there were no such worries this time around and the Bay of Plenty man finished 2-1-1-1-2-2-1 to take the title from Columb, whose 1-2-2-2-3-1-3 results meant he came 10 points short of snatching away the title.
“The racing was amazingly close all weekend,” said Motorcycling New Zealand ATV commissioner Wade Taylor, of Napier.
“A big tangle at the start of the last race cost Ffitch dearly. He didn’t get away until last and still came through to finish fifth in that race but he had to settle for third overall in the championship.
“It was the best racing I’ve ever seen from Jepson. I guess, after him finishing among the top 10 at the Australian nationals – despite suffering two DNFs – he was very race fit.
“The racing was amazing in the veterans’ class too with Rotorua’s Tony Smales very unlucky to finish off the podium. He ran out of petrol in one race and ran back to the pits to get fuel and fill up. He still managed to recover and finish ninth in that race.”
Leading results from the 2010 Suzuki New Zealand ATV Championships:
Premier grade: 1. Jason Jepson (Rotorua, Yamaha); 2. Lachie Columb (Queenstown, Suzuki); 3. Ian Ffitch (Amberley, Honda).
Open expert: 1. Thomas Morrison (Auckland, Yamaha); 2. Wade Taylor (Napier, Yamaha); 3. Daniel Hickman (Auckland, Yamaha).
Women: 1. Emma Goldstone (Tauranga, Yamaha); 2. Emma McFarlane-Smales (Bay of Plenty, Suzuki); 3. Amy Vincent (Auckland, Suzuki).
400cc class: 1. Darren Emm (Auckland, Yamaha); 2. Mike Small (Paeroa, Suzuki); 3. Steven Purcell (Paeroa, Suzuki).
Veterans class: 1. Ian Ffitch (Amberley, Honda); 2 Vaughan Adams (Thames, Yamaha); 3. Gary Doig (Canterbury, Suzuki).
Junior 12-16 years: 1. Andrew Vincent (Auckland, Honda); 2. Jacob Klaus (Matamata, Honda); 3. Brett Wilson (Taumarunui, Yamaha).
250cc production class: 1. Andrew Vincent (Auckland, Yamaha); 2. Nathan Adams (Thames, Yamaha); 3. Bailey Hickman (Auckland, Yamaha).
Clubmans class: 1. Brendan Arrol (Whakatane, Polaris); 2. Jason Svensson (Waipukurau, Yamaha); 3. Chris Pavey (Whakatane, Polaris).
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com