The holiday is over and now, like a champagne cork ready to pop, Waikato’s Josiah Natzke is fizzing to go again.
The 16-year-old Kiwi international was at his glorious best at the weekend’s Waikato Motocross Championships near Te Kuiti, only his second outing of the new season, and there were no signs of cobwebs following the five-week break he enjoyed since returning from a successful season of racing in Europe.
The just-crowned European 125cc No.2 took his distinctive orange KTM 250 SX-F into battle in two separate classes at the sun-baked Waikato Motocross Championships, entering the same bike in the MX1 (open) class as well as the MX2 (250cc) class, competing in six exhausting races on an increasingly hot afternoon.
He convincingly won the MX2 class with three wins from three starts – heading off threats from talented BikesportNZ.com-backed Taupo brothers Cohen Chase (Yamaha YZ250F) and Wyatt Chase (Yamaha YZ125).
Interspersed with that action, Natzke rolled his 250cc KTM to the start line to battle with Mount Maunganui’s national MX1 champion Cody Cooper (Honda Racing Team CRF450) in the big bike class, coming away with impressive 2-3-3 results and claiming the second step on the podium, behind the unbeaten Cooper, but ahead of fellow Hamilton rider Jesse Wiki, riding a KTM450, and Taupo’s national MX1 No.5 Brad Groombridge (MC2 Racing Team Suzuki RM-Z450).
“The bike is stock standard, straight out of the packing crate and yet I holeshot the first MX1 race. I was pretty pleased about that,” said Natzke afterwards.
“I raced at the MX Fest at Taupo over labour Weekend and that was my first rider after taking a break. That was for me to see where I was at in terms of fitness and so on. I have been working really hard since then, training every day, but I still wanted to maximise my time riding the bike, to increase my fitness, so entered two classes here,” he explained.
“It was great to get that extra competition riding against the bigger bikes.
“I’ll be double-classing at the upcoming Auckland Motocross Championships, Whakatane Summercross and at the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville, before I return to Belgium in mid February to get ready for the European 250cc Championship season.”
Meanwhile, fellow KTM rider Maximus Purvis, of Mangakino, was also impressive at the weekend in winning the senior 125cc bike class.
It was the 15-year-old’s senior racing debut and a perfect follow-on from his overall runner-up finish in the junior 15-16 years’ 125cc class at MX Fest two weeks earlier.
Purvis finished 2-1-2 in his three 125cc races, finishing safely ahead of Auckland pair Sean O’Connor (Proinstallauto Yamaha YZ125) and Kurtis Lilly (Workshop Graphics Huqvarna Factory Racing Team TC125).
“I knew third place would have been okay for me in the final race, but I didn’t want to settle for that and pushed through to finish second,” said Purvis, a year 10 pupil at Taupo-nui-a-Tia College in Taupo.
Purvis will continue to race in the junior ranks, although he will tackle the senior 125cc championships, that four-round series kicking off in Timaru on February 7.
His performance at Te Kuiti on Sunday would surely rank him among the favourites for the national 125cc crown.
© Words and photos by Andy & Bridget McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
Find BikesportNZ.com on FACEBOOK here