The sport of motocross can be the most exhilarating in the world and, equally, it can sometimes also be the most cruel.
That was certainly the case for defending national 15-16 years’ 125cc champion Wyatt Chase at the annual New Zealand Motocross Championships in Hawke’s Bay over the Anzac weekend.
The Taupo youngster dominated both the two premier classes early on at the Altherm JCR Yamaha-sponsored event at Fernhill, on the outskirts of Hastings – the 14-16 years’ 250cc class and the 15-16 years’ 125cc division as well – and he had been well on target to double up and make it two title wins this season.
Misfortune struck in the first 250cc race on Sunday, the fifth race of seven for the class, handing the advantage over to his main rival, Ohaupo’s Trent Collins.
Challenging for another win, Chase “cooked” his bike’s clutch and he rolled to a stop halfway around the circuit, unable to continue.
With Collins going on to win that race, his only victory of the weekend, it wiped out Chase’s championship lead, tragically turning a 12-point advantage into a 13-point deficit with just two races left to run.
In all, Chase won 12 of 14 races over the three days.
He was untouchable in the 15-16 years’ 125cc class – winning all seven races – but his one no-points race in the 250cc class proved extremely costly.
“It’s pretty unbelievable that I didn’t manage to win both classes after dominating so much, but that’s racing sometimes,” said the 16-year-old Chase.
“I can’t complain and it was still a good way to finish my last season as a junior racer.”
He heads overseas next month to tackle the last four rounds of the European 125 Motocross championships, starting in England, and will then return in August to make his senior debut in New Zealand at the big annual MX Fest in Taupo in October.
Other classes winners at the junior nationals at the weekend were Dunedin’s Grason Veitch (KTM, 12-14 years 125cc class); Oparau’s James Scott (Husqvarna, 13-16 years 85cc class); Matamata’s Brodie Connolly (KTM, 11-12 years 85cc class) and Tokanui’s Mitchell Weir (Yamaha, 8-10 years 85cc class).
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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