With four (wheels) on the floor, quad bikes bridge the motorsport gap between motorcycles and cars.
And the best of the nation’s quad bike racers will converge on a challenging motocross course near Kaukapakapa this weekend (Nov 5-6) for the annual New Zealand ATV Championships.
The cream of New Zealand’s quad bike racers are sure to make it look easy, even if the purpose-built course is regarded as one of the most difficult and challenging in the country.
Headline performances are again expected from national TT champion Ian Ffitch (Honda), the Kiwi international again making the long trip up from Amberley, just outside Christchurch, to stake his claim for top honours in the premier class.
But while the 41-year-old Ffitch is exhibiting hot form at the moment, he will no doubt face stiff challenges from men such as defending champion Jason Jepson (Yamaha), of Rotorua, Tauranga’s Mark Goldstone (Yamaha) and Christchurch pair Sam Henderson (Suzuki) and Kalon Andrews (Honda), to name just a few.
“Winning the premier class as a veteran has been a goal of mine, so that’s the aim for this weekend,” said Ffitch matter-of-factly.
Others to watch for include Rotorua’s Willy Morrissey, Stratford pair Cameron and Scott Keegan, Paeroa pair Mike Small and Steven Purcell and Auckland trio Thomas Morrison, Daniel Hickman and Darren Emm.
“Whatever the final outcome, the action is certain to be fast and furious,” said Motorcycling New Zealand ATV commissioner Wade Taylor, of Napier, himself a frequent frontrunner and hoping to mix it with the likes of Ffitch and Jepson.
In the veterans’ class, look for Rotorua’s Tony Smales, Thames rider Vaughan Adams and Canterbury’s Gary Doig to feature at the front.
Top women likely to feature include Christchurch’s Nina McVicar, Tauranga’s Emma Goldstone and Rotorua’s Emma Smales, while junior honours could be shared between Auckland’s Matthew Wickstead, Christchurch’s Craig Cox and Matamata’s Jacob Klaus.
The venue is Ken Fells Motocross Park, Kahikatea Flat Road, Kaukapakapa, and will be signposted from State Highway 1 near Silverdale.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com