They say it’s harder to defend a national title than to win it in the first place, and Hamilton’s Darryll King should know.
The New Zealand MX2 motocross champion has won and successfully defended more titles than most riders have ever come close to earning.
The former 500cc world No.2, multi-time former Australian and New Zealand open class, 250cc and 125cc champion and reigning national MX2 (250cc) champion heads to Timaru this weekend to begin yet another title defence.
This first of four rounds in the title chase should set the tone for the racing that follows and the 43-year-old King is determined to make sure that tone is A sharp, as in ‘A’ for awesome.
He has been training hard in recent weeks and his runner-up finish at the big annual Woodville Motocross two weeks ago demonstrated his preparation was well on track.
His team-mates in the MXDK Rockstar Yamaha outfit, too, are looking sharp for their nationals campaigns, Motueka’s Josh Coppins aiming for glory in the MX1 class and Waitakere’s Ethan Martens looking good for MX2 honours alongside King, while young Rotorua rider Cameron Vaughan is on target to make an impact in the dual-title national 125cc and under-21 categories.
“We’re all totally on track to do well this weekend,” said team boss King.
“We are just fine tuning everything now. Whenever a championship is on the line, I always manage to step up and that’s what I intend this weekend.
“As a team, we won three out of four titles last year and I don’t see any reason not to think we can do the same, or even go one better, this time around. We’d certainly like to repeat the achievement.”
They’ll each have their work cut out, though, with riders such as Ben Townley (Honda), Cody Cooper (Suzuki), Michael Phillips (Honda) and Justin McDonald (Honda) sure to be hot for MX1 glory; Luke Burkhart (KTM), Scotty Columb (Suzuki), Peter Broxholme (Honda) and Rhys Carter (Suzuki) among those likely to challenge for MX2 honours, and Micah McGoldrick (KTM), Dion Picard (Suzuki) and Logan Blackburn (Yamaha) also on target for reward in the 125cc and under-21 classes.
After racing near Timaru on Sunday, the championship heads for round two at Patetonga, near Morrinsville, on February 26, then heads to Pukekohe a week later, on March 4, with the final round set for Taupo on March 18.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com