The battle lines have been drawn and New Zealand has its three-rider squad ready for the big fight in France this September.
A six-rider shortlist of candidates was suddenly cut in half when three of the riders – Hamilton’s Josiah Natzke and Rotorua brothers Mike and John Phillips – declared themselves unavailable, therefore making the selection decision a simple one for the Motorcycling New Zealand board.
And so it will be Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper, Tauranga’s Ben Townley and Mangakino’s Kayne Lamont who will fly the Kiwi colours at the big annual Motocross of Nations (MXoN) at Ernee, in north-western France, on the weekend of September 26-27.
Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner Howard Lilly, of Auckland, said Rangiora’s Micah McGoldrick and Takaka’s Hamish Harwood would be put on stand-by to be the non-travelling reserves for this clash of countries, often referred to as “the Olympic Games of motocross”.
Cooper, Townley and Lamont have each been integral members of the New Zealand MXoN effort in the past and all have achieved notable successes.
Cooper and Townley were joined by Motueka’s Josh Coppins to earn Team New Zealand a podium finish when the MXoN was held at Matterley Basin, near Winchester, in 2006.
Copper is current national MX1 champion, while former MX2 world champion Townley is also a multi-time former New Zealand motocross champion.
Former national MX2 champion Lamont represented New Zealand at the MXoN in Belgium in 2012 and again in Germany in 2013 and he has vast international riding experience, having raced with success in the United Kingdom and Australia in recent times.
“This is another step in the process towards gaining successes in France in September and we will be working closely with Cooper, Townley and Lamont to enable this,” said Lilly.
“McGoldrick and Harwood were shoulder-tapped to be ready to go at a moment’s notice and that’s important because, as we have already seen, changes can happen very quickly indeed.
“MNZ is very proud of the efforts put in by the Taupo Motorcycle Club in staging its Battle of the Clubs fundraiser motocross a few weeks ago and the funds raised that day will go a long way towards setting Team New Zealand on the right path.”
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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