CROSS-COUNTRY TIMES TWO

A 125cc KTM in the right hands can be an awesome weapon, even on the cross-country scene, and that’s exactly what Oparau’s James Scott proved at the weekend.

The 15-year-old took his KTM 125SX motocross bike to tackle two separate high-profile cross-country events in the Waikato region on Saturday and Sunday, perfectly demonstrating both his own versatility and strength as well as that of his bike.

Scott lined up for the 90-minute junior class race at the fourth and final round of the New Zealand Cross-country Championships near Cambridge on Saturday with absolutely no expectations.

He had not contested the three earlier rounds and was therefore never able to be a title contender for the main prize and, besides this, he entered himself merely as a “junior club grade” rider.

But that didn’t hold him back and he quickly charged into the lead after the shotgun blast had signalled the start.

The first lap of the steep, rain-drenched 11-kilometre farmland course was conquered in just over 18 minutes and Scott went on to complete five laps before the 90 minutes had elapsed, finishing the marathon race more than three minutes clear of race the runner-up, Cambridge’s Seton Head, who was riding a KTM 250 EXC-F.

It was an impressive performance from Scott, who is not a regular cross-country racer, and he proved once again he’s one of the fastest dirt bike racers in New Zealand.

Scott recently finished overall runner-up in the 15-16 years’ 125cc class at the New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships in Taranaki and soon he will be heading overseas as he hopes to embark on a fulltime international motocross career.

Scott’s bike was still dripping wet after the mud had been water-blasted away following Saturday’s race win when he arrived at nearby Tokoroa the next day to tackle the senior grade at the opening rounds of the combined Dirt Guide Series/NZXC Series at Ohakuri, in forestry about halfway between Tokoroa and Taupo.

He lined up against more than 100 vastly experienced senior riders, many of them on 300cc and 450cc bikes, and managed to finish a remarkable 12th overall.

He was the second best of the 125cc class riders, behind Yamaha’s race winner Paul Whibley, a 38-year-old former United States and New Zealand cross-country champion.

Scott’s performance in the gruelling two-hour race could only be described as inspiring.

With back-to-back events under his KTM’s wheels, teenager Scott made the most of his weekend and it was a superb start to his building-up for racing in Australia and Europe later this year.

© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

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