Kiwi dirt bike racers continue to impress overseas, at least 21 of them in fact.
As New Zealand motocross riders John Phillips, Bjarne Fredericksen, Kieran Scheele and Cameron Dillon establish themselves in the United Kingdom this season, they will be joined in coming UK events by Mangakino teenager Kayne Lamont, his visa application issues now finally sorted.
Taupo’s Ben Townley continues to travel the steep road to recovery and we can expect him to start picking up points again in the MX1 world championships, racing for the French CLS/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team.
Hamilton’s national MX2 champion Darryll King has raced one round of this year’s veterans’ world championships and is considering racing the remaining rounds as well.
Across the Tasman we can keep a close eye on Kiwi heroes Cody Cooper, Josh Coppins, Mike Phillips (pictured above) and Justin McDonald to wave the flag. All four men are running at the sharp end of their respective classes.
Also, Levin’s James Anderson is racing motocross in NSW, in the Australian off-road series, Auckland’s Karl Power and Pahiatua’s Scott Sowry have been waving the flag.
In MX3 competition in Europe we have Aucklander Joel Doeksen, now based in the Netherlands, trying his hand at international motocross and tasting some success with that.
In Canada there are Kiwi duo Mason Phillips and Kieran Leigh all ready to tackle the domestic motocross championships, actually an international-class series with top riders from all around the world expected to race.
Auckland’s Chris Birch has now settled with his wife Monica into their new home in South Africa and he continues to feature among the elite of the off-road world. Expect to see him as a leading contender at upcoming extreme enduro events such as the Erzberg Iron Giant, the Roof of Africa or Romaniacs events.
In the meantime, he’s due back in New Zealand this weekend and expected to race at the fifth round of six in this year’s New Zealand Enduro Championships in the Riverhead Forest.
Also expected to join Birch and co at Riverhead this weekend is national enduro champion Jason Davis, back home for a spell as he takes a break from racing enduro events in the UK.
Across the globe, on the cross-country racing scene in the United States, Pahiatua’s Paul Whibley continues to impress, winning the latest round of the Grand National Cross-Country Championships in Pennsylvania at the weekend, while GNCC debutant Rory Mead, of Taupo, also made an impact by finishing eighth.
It was a caretaker role for Mead, the Yamaha star drafted into the GEICO/American Honda JG Off Road team to keep the seat warm for injured regular factory rider Jimmy Jarrett.
The 24-year-old Mead, from Taupo, will, however, remain committed to Yamaha and will be racing a Yamaha YZ450F back home now for the weekend’s New Zealand Enduro Championships round.
Mead will return for the Snowshoe GNCC round on June 25 and the John Penton GNCC round on July 10.
Meanwhile, here’s a video from the GNCC round at Patton, Pennsylvania, at the weekend, an event aptly named “The Rock Run”.
And, this snippet from all the best bits of extreme enduro racing in 2010, courtesy of Chris Birch and friends.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com