If you can picture superbike racing on a grass track, then you’ll have no trouble at all imagining what it may look like at the annual New Zealand Motocross TT Nationals near Timaru on the weekend of August 27 and 28.
Riders from all the various dirt bike codes – including a few road-racers too – are expected to flock to the course at 227 Munro Road, Pareora, just south of Timaru, for the 2022 edition of the popular TT nationals.
TT racing is like superbike racing on soil instead of tarmac – the racing is off-road and the competitors use dirt bikes, but, unlike motocross, there are no steep hills or skyward launch ramps to slow things down.
The entry list for the Fabtech-sponsored two-day event is likely to include the stars of motocross, cross-country, enduro and even road-racing and super motard, and they will hit eye-watering speeds as they chase national glory.
Racing on the grassland track will no doubt push the athletes to their limits, particularly when the mostly flat grassland paddock becomes progressively rougher after each race.
With riders almost equal in the horsepower stakes, it will be the individuals who start fastest, accelerate soonest and brake latest who will benefit the most.
“We are grateful that the South Canterbury Motorcycle Club has stepped up to host the TT Nationals,” said Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner Lindsey Heileson.
“We are pleased that so many riders support this event. It’s a great two days. Camping is available at the track, so it’s more of a fun, family atmosphere. It’s good to be able to offer a more natural terrain motocross meeting to MNZ members.
“This event caters for a wide variety of motorcycling codes and a diverse range of competitors. It should be a great spectacle.”
Inglewood’s Renny Johnston was outstanding in winning the premier MX1 class when the TT nationals were held at Taupiri, north of Hamilton last season, while Te Aroha’s Luke van der Lee was unbeaten in the MX2 class.
Auckland’s Damon Nield was unstoppable in the senior 125cc class and in the enduro class as well, while Hamilton’s Mikayla Rowe dominated the senior women’s class.
Rotorua’s Ticayla Manson narrowly won the junior women’s 12-16 years’ 150cc & 250cc class last year, while Waimauku’s Ruby Leach narrowly won the junior women’s 8-16 years’ 85cc and 150cc class as well.
New Plymouth’s Mitch Rowe almost unstoppable in the veterans’ over-45 years and in the Classic Pre-1996 bikes class last year.
Other class winners last year were Te Awamutu’s Jack Carmichael (junior 14-16 years’, 250cc); Waihi’s Luke Maitland (junior 12-16 years’, 125cc); Hamilton’s Carson Mackie (junior 12-16 years’, 85cc); Wairoa’s Connor Cavaney (mini 65cc) and Helensville’s Adam Bockett (mini 50cc).
Some of these same individuals, plus plenty of other talented riders, could expect to be contenders in Timaru this time around too.
With racing for 10 separate championship classes over the two days, as well as support and mini classes being run, the term “flat track” may be a little misleading, with the track expected to be rough and rutted by late Sunday afternoon, when rider fitness will play as much a part in the outcomes as any riders’ bravery, skill or horsepower advantage.
Track access is off Pooke Road, Pareora, Timaru (signposted from Caltex Pareora Fuel stop on State Highway 1). Entries close on August 17 at 5pm.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
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