That analogy certainly rings true with the 2015 New Zealand Motocross Championships.
The four-round series is now at the halfway stage, with two rounds in the bag, but anything is still possible with another two rounds of racing still to come in the JT Racing-sponsored series, the third round set for farmland on the outskirts of Rotorua this weekend.
Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper (Honda) leads the MX1 (450cc) class, Australian Jay Wilson (Yamaha) rules the MX2 (250cc) class and Hamilton’s Josiah Natzke (KTM) is on top in the 125cc division, but none of these riders can take anything for granted in Rotorua on Sunday.
Of the three current class frontrunners, Wilson was the only one to lead his respective class after the series opener in Taranaki last month.
The racing had a shake-up at round two near Timaru a fortnight ago and defending class champions Cooper and Natzke rose up the rankings to the No.1 positions, but that could all change again in the blink of an eye.
Cooper will have to fend off a couple of “hungry foxes” in the form of his own Rotorua team-mate John Phillips, who will particularly enjoy racing on this track, sculpted out of his parents’ farm property, and Australian MX1 No.2 Kirk Gibbs (KTM), among others. Just 10 points separate these three riders at the top of the MX1 standings.
Even though Wilson has won the MX2 class at both rounds thus far, he too will be well aware that he can’t afford to relax yet and any slip-up will be punished by those pursuing him.
Takaka’s Hamish Harwood (KTM), Amberley’s Micah McGoldrick (Honda), Rotorua’s Scott Canham (Kawasaki) and Brighton’s Campbell King (Suzuki) are all within strike range. A flat tyre, for example, is all it would take for the 20-point gap between Wilson and Harwood to evaporate.
It is a similar story in the 125cc class, where 2014 champion Natzke enjoys a slender 11-point advantage over nearest challenger Cohen Chase (Yamaha), of Taupo.
Just 37 points separate the top five in this class and a maximum 75 points are available on Sunday, meaning Natzke can’t afford another glitch like the one he experienced in one of the 125cc races in Taranaki – a crash a crash in turn one leaving him fighting from the back to salvage the day.
The fourth and final round of the championships is set for Pukekohe on March 15.
Leading standings after round two of the New Zealand Motocross Championships:
MX1 class: 1. Cody Cooper (Mount Maunganui, Honda) 124 points; 2. John Phillips (Rotorua, Honda) 121; 3. Kirk Gibbs (Australia, KTM) 114; 4. Kade Mosig (Australia, Yamaha) 101; 5. Scott Columb (Queenstown, Yamaha) 99.
MX2 class: 1. Jay Wilson (Australia, Yamaha) 140; 2. Hamish Harwood (Takaka, KTM) 120; 3. Micah McGoldrick (Amberley, Honda) 105; 4. Scotty Canham (Rotorua, Kawasaki) 85; 5. Campbell King (Brighton, Suzuki) 83.
125cc class: 1. Josiah Natzke (Hamilton, KTM) 138; 2. Cohen Chase (Taupo, Yamaha) 127; 3. Ben Broad (Ngatea, KTM) 118; 4. Kurtis Lilly (Karaka, Husqvarna) 104; 5. Courtney Duncan (Otago, Yamaha) 101.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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