Waikato teenager Josiah Natzke was all smiles after another solid, winning work-out, this time at the big annual Whakatane Summercross on Monday.
Hamilton’s Natzke took his KTM 250 SX-F to finish with three wins, a second and a third in his five MX2 (250cc) races to dominate the class on Monday and, riding the same 250cc bike, he also finished with an 11-11-10-12 score-card in the four MX1 (open class) races that he also tackled.
The annual two-day post-Christmas event was being used as another build-up for Natzke, who will return to Europe in February to contest the European Motocross Championships 250cc class in 2016.
He finished a close runner-up in the EMX125 this season and hopes he can replicate that, or preferably move up to the top step, in the EMX250 class next year.
Natzke, who turns 17 this week, described the track at Whakatane as “brutal”, although he admitted it was good to spend extra time on the bike by tackling two classes.
“I really wanted to smash the 250cc class and I guess I did that, although (eventual runner-up) Hamish Harwood put on a great challenge.”
Fellow KTM star Harwood, from Waitakere, ended the day just five points behind Natzke, with Reporoa’s Hadleigh Knight (Husqvarna 250F) rounding out the podium.
“I only raced the MX1 class for the extra bike time, part of my fitness training,” said Natzke.
“This was all a good build-up for me, but I really want to work now on my strength. When I need to push hard in Europe, I really need to have the strength to do that.”
He heads off to his European base on February 3, with the EX250 championships set to kick off in the Netherlands in March.
“The first GP is at Valkenwaard, a deep sand track, and that’s why ‘m heading across so early. I need to do a lot of sand track riding before the championships begin.”
Other class winners at Summercross were Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper (MX1 class, Honda); Cambridge’s Trent Collins (junior 12-17 years 250cc class and Youth MX class, Honda); Tauranga’s Jessie Waterhouse (women’s class, Yamaha); Motueka’s Josh Coppins (veterans 35-44 years, Yamaha); Hamilton’s Darryll King (veterans over-45 years, Yamaha); Taupo’s Wyatt Chase (junior 16-17 years 125cc, Yamaha); Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis (junior 12-15 years 125cc, KTM); Okato’s Zak Hetherington (junior 14-16 years 85cc, TM); Matamata’s Brodie Connolly (junior 12-13 years 85cc, KTM); Hamilton’s Nick Westgate (pro 65cc class, KTM).
© Words and photos by Andy & Bridget McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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