The riders head to Pleasant point, near Timaru, for round two of the JT Racing-sponsored series this weekend with all bets off and anything still possible, particularly following the upsets and surprises that punctuated the day at round one near New Plymouth.
None of the riders who had been widely tipped as title favourites ended up on the top steps of their respective podiums at round one, although there is no doubt that highly-fancied defending champions Cody Cooper, the MX1 class No.1 from Mount Maunganui, and Josiah Natzke (KTM), the 125cc class No.1 from Hamilton, will be seeking to redress that.
Cooper (Honda) finished the day an unaccustomed fourth overall in Taranaki and will be looking to attack in Timaru on Sunday.
Meanwhile, with Mangakino’s national MX2 (250cc) champion Kayne Lamont (Yamaha) sidelined with injury before New Plymouth’s event and Rotorua’s Mike Phillips (Honda) sent to the sideline due to a crash during it, it helped Australian visitor Jay Wilson (Yamaha) to top the podium in the MX2 class.
Amberley’s Micah McGoldrick (Honda), Takaka’s Hamish Harwood and Otorohanga’s Hayden Kanters (Yamaha) were the next best in the class at New Plymouth and should also feature during racing at Timaru this weekend.
Taupo’s Cohen Chase (Yamaha) won the 125cc division in New Plymouth, although there was an element of good fortune about that with Natzke obviously the fastest rider in the class.
Natzke convincingly won the first two 125cc races at New Plymouth, but a massive crash at the start of the day’s third and final race drove him head-first into the ground.
He took some time to shake off fuzziness and rejoined the race a long way behind the fast-disappearing pack, but still managed to claw his way back to finish eighth and salvage overall runner-up spot for the day.
Natzke will be hoping that’s the only dose of bad luck he has to deal with in this campaign and, if that is the case, the smart money will possibly still be on Natzke to successfully defend his crown. He is just four points behind Chase and there are still a maximum 225 points available.
Third best on the day at New Plymouth was Ngatea’s Ben Broad (KTM) and, just one point behind Natzke, he must also fancy his chances.
Round three is set for Rotorua on March 8, with the fourth and final round at Pukekohe on March 15.
Leading standing after round one of the New Zealand Motocross Championships in Taranaki:
MX1 class: 1. Scott Columb (Queenstown, Yamaha) 70 points; 2. Kirk Gibbs (Australia, KTM) 62; 3. John Phillips (Rotorua, Honda) 55; 4. Cody Cooper (Mount Maunganui, Honda) 49; 5. Kade Mosig (Australia, Yamaha) 48.
MX2 class: 1. Jay Wilson (Australia, Yamaha) 65; 2. Micah McGoldrick (Amberley, Honda) 61; 3. Hamish Harwood (Takaka, KTM) 58; 4. Hayden Kanters (Otorohanga, Yamaha) 48; 5. Campbell King (Brighton, Suzuki) 45.
125cc class: 1. Cohen Chase (Taupo, Yamaha) 67; 2. Josiah Natzke (Hamilton, KTM) 63; 3. Ben Broad (Ngatea, KTM) 62; 4. Kurtis Lilly (Karaka, Husqvarna) 52; 5. Reece Walker (Nelson, Yamaha) 52.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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