He was at his authoritative best on the Hack Track circuit near Eltham on Labour Weekend Saturday and Sunday as he successfully defended his premier grade, up-to-750cc class, title at the annual New Zealand ATV Championships.
Remarkably, this was Keegan’s fourth consecutive national ATV title win and his fifth in total.
Sponsored this year by Reid Recovery, the spectacular, steep and flowing grassland circuit just south of Eltham provided an ideal stage for the sport’s elite to express themselves and 30-year-old electrician Keegan certainly produced some sparks.
When his younger brother Scott Keegan, usually his main title threat, suffered an engine failure and was unable to finish race one on Saturday, it meant that Camo Keegan could probably take things a little easier.
But up stepped Otorohanga’s Shane Robinson, who rode superbly to keep the defending champion honest, Robinson eventually claiming runner-up spot in the grade, while Scott Keegan recovered from his mechanical glitch to snatch the third podium position.
“I was pretty fit this year,” said Camo Keegan afterwards. “I had trained hard heading into the nationals and I think that’s what made the difference for me.
“I was able to go hard for the whole race.
“Shane (Robinson) is riding really well at the moment, but the DNF for Scott (Keegan) had a huge influence on the results,” Camo Keegan acknowledged.
“My goal was to grab another title, of course. I was a bit lucky though too, because my bike’s engine failed in race five and I still managed to get to the finish. I used my practice bike for the final two races and finished third and then first in those.”
Meanwhile, in other results, Egmont Village rider Cory Whitelock won the Production 450 title ahead of Wellington’s Sheldon Jupp; Christchurch’s Bailey Graham won the Production 250cc title ahead of New Plymouth’s Kaed Smithson; Christchurch’s Harrison Graham won the Production 125cc class ahead of Christchurch’s Madison Bleeker; Patea’s Ian Campbell won the Veterans’ class ahead of Gisborne’s Ian Newman and New Plymouth’s Luke Etheridge won the Clubmans’ class ahead of New Plymouth’s Joel Chamberlin.
Otorohanga’s Amy Corston, won the women’s grade ahead of Christchurch’s Lori Graham and Stratford’s Dannielle Reid, while Reid’s mother, Nicola Reid, and sister Ashlee Reid rounded out the top five.
Event organiser Jono Keegan said the track was a “bit dusty”, but it all went according to plan.
“The riders and spectators too really enjoyed the track and we managed to sneak in with the weather. It had been raining in the days leading up to the event, but then we had a clear, dry weekend.”
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
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