The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic created a two-year hiatus for the sport of quad bike racing, so we will surely see throttles turned to the max when racing reignites at the 2022 New Zealand ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) Motocross Championships this coming Labour Weekend.
It has been two years since the New Zealand ATV MX Champs were run, although a few regional events have been staged, so there are bound to be a few itchy trigger fingers when the top guns from around the country line up to race together in Taranaki on Saturday and Sunday.
It will be champions galore at the weekend, with so many regional and North and South Island title winners set to converge on the host New Plymouth Motorcycle Club’s natural terrain facility, on the outskirts of New Plymouth.
The Mach1 Yamaha-sponsored 2022 ATV MX nationals will feature seven races for each of the various classes over the two days and this will be sure to test even the fittest and most capable of riders.
The defending national champion is Taranaki’s Camo Keegan, now a six-time outright winner of the premier grade at this event, and he will likely be among the standout riders, especially with him this time also racing on home turf.
However, while you could be forgiven for regarding Stratford man Keegan as the favourite to win again, you never can tell in this sport and he’ll really be up against it on the steep Barrett Road circuit, with some stern challenges expected from the current North Island and South Island champions, Keri Keri’s Ross Simpson and Christchurch’s Kane McGrath respectively, and also perhaps from his own brother, Lepperton’s 2015 national champion Scott Keegan.
Add to the talent-laden field such riders as Canterbury’s premier grade and 450cc production grade champion Taylor Graham, multi-time national champion Ian Ffitch, from Amberley, and the always-dependable Whitelock brothers Devan and Corey, then we can see the racing is going to be truly fierce.
Among the female racers, expect to see Stratford’s defending champion Nicola Reid (along with her with daughters Ashlee and Dannielle) to be among the leaders, and they will have their work cut out against Christchurch’s young rising star Lori Graham.
The Under-21 Ffitch Cup will go to the highest points-scoring rider aged under 21. Devan Whitelock was the 2020 Ffitch Cup winner.
“It will be fantastic to be back in action with the nationals again after being disrupted by the pandemic,” said Motorcycling New Zealand ATV commissioner Olaf Bovendeerd, from Rakaia.
“The racing will be intense and I’m sure everyone will be looking forward to this. The talent that will be on show here will be amazing.
The 2022 New Zealand ATV MX Championships are supported by Mach1 Yamaha, Reid Recovery, Keegan Electrical, Bailey Motorcycles and Dismantlers, 2brothers Racing, JK Fabrication and Engineering, 2 Stroke Twin Smoke Racing, Honda Hub and Hinton Contracting.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
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