Consistency was the buzz word at the third round of four in this season’s New Zealand Motocross Championships in Hawke’s Bay on Saturday.
Australian visitor Kirk Gibbs did not win a single one of the three races that were run in the premier MX1 class, but he did win the round overall and, with that, he also took over the championship lead.
There were three separate race winners in the MX1 class during a day of contrasting weather conditions at Fernhill – Hamilton’s Kayne Lamont winning the dry first race, Rotorua’s John Phillips tasting victory in the muddy second race and then Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper prevailing as the treacherous ruts got even deeper in race three.
Gibbs finished runner-up each time, his 2-2-2 score-card putting him on the top step of the MX1 podium for the day and also for the series, with just the final round left to run, at Taupo this coming Saturday.
In the No.2 spot at the start of the weekend, Gibbs’ performance saw him turn a nine-point deficit into a six-point advantage, with Lamont posting a disappointing 1-6-10 score-card on Saturday and slipping off the top of the leader-board and into second position.
Defending champion Cooper remains third overall in the series standings, 12 points below Lamont and 18 behind Gibbs.
In the MX2 (250cc) category, defending champion Hamish Harwood continued his march towards a third consecutive title.
The West Auckland-based former Takaka man has talent to burn, but he was also assisted slightly on Saturday when drama struck for several of his challengers.
Taupo’s Wyatt Chase dropped out while leading race one; Wellington’s Josh Bartosh crashed while leading race two and Australian Jay Wilson had his bike seize while he was leading race three.
Taupo’s Brad Groombridge finished third overall in the MX2 class on Saturday, behind fast-improving Rangiora rider Micah McGoldrick, and he remains overall runner-up in the championship standings, while McGoldrick has moved up from fifth to third overall.
It is interesting to note that dual-class ironman Harwood also finished the day third overall in the MX1 class and he remains sixth in the MX1 series standings.
In the National 125cc class, the battle continued to rage between Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis and Australian Mason Semmens.
These two riders shared race wins at the weekend and Purvis boosted his advantage slightly and he is now 15 points ahead of Semmens.
There is still so much at stake for all of the riders and Taupo’s Digger McEwen Motocross Park will be the scene for some intense battles this coming weekend.
All four rounds of the 2018 New Zealand Motocross Championship are to be live streamed on www.mnz.co.nz and the NZMX Nationals Facebook page, thanks to the generosity of sponsors Workshop Graphics, Pirelli, Eni, Image Centre Group, KTM, Husqvarna, Fox Racing, Kawasaki New Zealand, Yamaha New Zealand, Honda New Zealand and Crombie Lockwood.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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Full story and more photos in your next issue of KIWI RIDER magazine.
Check back here on www.BikesportNZ.com during this week as we bring you more words and pictures from the weekend.