Good things come in small packages and Josiah Natzke is surely evidence of that.
The 12-year-old Hamilton boy has been turning heads virtually since the day he first set wheels in motion on a motocross track, with titles and trophies collected over the years too numerous to mention.
Natzke took his Yamaha YZ85 to defend his national 11-12 years’ 85cc class title in Tokoroa in April, simply blowing away his rivals by winning four of his five races. He probably would have made it a clean sweep if he hadn’t made an uncharacteristic error and crashed while leading in that only race he didn’t win.
He also raced a slightly-modified Yamaha YZ85 – one that had been bored out to 103cc – to tackle the 12-to-14-year-olds in the 125cc class as well. And in that class he finished an astonishing sixth overall.
He’s continued his dominance in the 85cc class in recent months and has also been getting more serious about stepping up to tackle the bigger boys on the bigger bikes.
He easily wrapped up the win in the 11-12 years’ 85cc class at the big annual Taupo Motocross Extravaganza over Labour Weekend and also came a lot closer to winning the 12-14 years’ 125cc division, ending that day as class runner-up.
But that wasn’t good enough according to Natzke, his own hardest taskmaster.
“I got beaten in the 125cc class by Aaron Wiltshire (a highly-rated KTM rider from Tauranga) … I was the only rider out there on an 85cc bike because I’m still just a little bit too small to ride an actual 125.
“I’ve just got to grow some more. That’s all there is to it,” he shrugged.
“I know I’ll be on a 125 and then a 250 in the next couple of years and I can’t wait for that. But for now, I’m looking forward to the supercross nationals and, hopefully, defending my 85cc title there.”
Meanwhile, with a few more big breakfasts under his belt, there is no doubt Natzke will be claiming a few 125cc scalps in the near future too.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com