The lull is over for the nation’s elite motocross riders.
It may have been a little bit quiet on the motocross scene over the cool months of winter, with the traditional season-opening MX Fest at Taupo in October, the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville in January and the four-round nationals that follow all seeming such a long way off, but the sport’s governing body in New Zealand has leapt in this season to fill the void with a new two-round North Island Motocross Championships Series, the first of those kicking off in the Manawatu region this weekend.
Round one is set for the Flipp’s Motorcycle Park near Sanson this Saturday and Sunday, with the second round set for Hawke’s Bay’s new Mere Road facility, near Fernhill, on the weekend of September 19-20.
Each of these two-day meetings will feature junior racing on the Saturday and veterans’, women’s and support classes included with MX1, MX2 and 125cc racing on the Sunday.
Manawatu riders in particular have been looking forward to the start of this series, with their track near Sanson proving popular with riders and spectators alike and a home track advantage always something to savour.
Top local riders expected to excel this weekend include Feilding’s Tony Cvitanovich, Paraparaumu’s Jesse Donnelly, Palmerston North’s Tom Hughes, Feilding’s Hamish Clausen, Otaki’s Kieran Bryant, Sanson’s Angela and Kirk Bowater, Palmerston North’s James Galpin and Rongotea’s Jillings brothers, Zac and Rhys, to name a few, although dozens of top national-grade riders are expected to flock to Flipp’s Motorcycle Park to challenge them.
“We have introduced these two events as a stepping stone for motorcycle clubs that aspire to host a major national championship event in the near future,” said MNZ motocross commissioner Howard Lilly, of Pukekohe.
“Hawke’s Bay will host the New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships in April next year and, for the Hawke’s Bay Motorcycle Club, also organising the North Island Motocross Championships round will enable them to test the waters as far as resources and facilities are concerned.
“Everyone wants to host a national championship event and, as caretakers of the sport, MNZ wants to ensure that it can offer the best possible service for riders and spectators at major events. This is a way of ensuring that.
“In addition, the major national championship events are usually staged around February and March and by having the North Island championship events in August and September, we can spread the competition a little further and a little wider.”
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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