After failing during preliminary qualifying to earn direct entry to the main races, the Kiwi trio – Tauranga’s Josiah Natzke (MXGP class), Tauranga’s Brodie Connolly (MX2 class) and Waipukurau’s Rhys Carter (Open class) – are now obliged to contest the B Final race first thing on Sunday morning (early tomorrow morning NZ time).
Natzke finished 17th in his qualifier, Carter finished 20th in his qualifying race and Connolly was beset by an engine failure, meaning he completed just five of 11 laps in his MX2 qualifier and, while credited with 29th, his was the score to be discarded from the Kiwi’s total.
Unfortunately, this consigned Team New Zealand to 23rd place out of the 34 nations entered this year and they therefore missed the 20-team cut to progress directly to the finals races the following day.
It’s now a must-win assignment for the Kiwis. Team New Zealand has to win tomorrow’s B Final and earn a last-chance, backdoor route to the finals … nothing less will do if they are to achieve a top-20 result for 2022.
© Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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