Brace yourself for action as the most significant event on the junior motocross calendar kicks off in the Central North Island on Friday.
Tokoroa will this Easter weekend host the three-day Leatt New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships with more than 300 riders entered.
The popular Amisfield track, on the outskirts of Tokoroa, is the venue for this annual championship weekend and top talent from throughout Australasia is expected to rapidly fill up the South Waikato forestry town’s motels.
It is hard to pick a favourite to win the 14-16 years’ 250cc class but it’s certain to be a brutal battle between top Kiwis such as Dunedin’s Campbell King, Matamata’s Jacob Kneebone, Kumeu’s Liam Underwood, Whakatane’s Damon Rees, Takaka’s Hamish Harwood, Auckland’s Brandon Tipene and Hastings rider Jonty Birrell.
Rangiora’s Micah McGoldrick will certainly be one rider worth watching this weekend. He won the 13-16 years’ 85cc class and finished third in the 12-14 years’ 125cc class last season.
He steps up to the 15-16 years’ 125cc class this season, where he will face stiff opposition from such talented riders as Rotorua’s Cameron Vaughan, Levin’s James Anderson, Paeroa’s Kent Morley, Katikati’s Garth Amrein and Te Puke’s Logan Blackburn, to name a few.
Top Australian 125cc rider Jesse Dobson arrives from Queensland to bid for the 12-14 years’ 125cc class title and there he will line up against top Kiwis such as Hadleigh Knight, of Atiamuri, Rangiora’s Cody Murphy, Opotiki’s Tyler Breingan and Tauranga’s Kurt Langford.
In the 85cc class battles, riders such as Hamilton’s Josiah Natzke (last season’s 11-12 years’ 85cc class champion), Otago’s Courtney Duncan (the former 85cc world No.8), Taupo’s Wyatt Chase (the 8-10 years’ 85cc class winner in 2010), his brother Cohen Chase, Papakura’s Kurtis Lilly, Pahiatua’s Scott Sowry, Oamaru’s Joel Meikle, Christchurch’s Dylan Walsh, Hawera’s Nick Hornby, Tauranga’s Cameron Forlong and Australian riders Hunter Lawrence and Blake Cobbin should feature.
Sponsored by Leatt (the neck brace people), the national championships feature racing in seven separate age-group and bike capacity classes. The championship will comprise five races in each category.
In addition to Leatt, the championships are supported by Fox Brigade, Yamaha, KTM, DRD magazine and the Backflips Clothing NZ.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com