The fourth instalment of the Star Insure MotoFest, at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park on the weekend of March 4-5, 2023, will not only be hosting the crucial fifth round of six in the 2022-23 New Zealand Superbike Nationals, but the jam-packed two-day programme will also offer up a glut of other high-powered motorcycling entertainment, including the second-ever Motul NZ Classic Grand Prix.
And a star attraction in the classic segment at MotoFest will surely be the fabulous and rare Proton KR3 bike that will be on show during the “Legends Parade” phase of the busy weekend.
It will be a time to “Smoke ’em Out” at the 2023 event as Star Insure MotoFest embarks on “A Celebration of Two-Strokes in New Zealand” and the Proton bike is a classic example of the best in two-stroke motorcycle racing technology.
Owned by British collector Chris Wilson, a friend and regular supporter of MotoFest, the Proton KR3 is the bike that really signalled the end of the two-stroke era of GP racing.
This is the rare 500cc V3 configuration bike that Northern Ireland’s Jeremy McWilliams set pole on at the 2002 Australian GP – the last time a two-stroke bike achieved this feat.
The 2002 GP season marked the phasing out of 500cc two-strokes and the introduction of the 990cc four-stroke machinery.
American GP world champion Kenny Roberts and his main team engineers, including Kiwi Mike Sinclair, came up with the V3 design. The bike weighed only 115kg, but made 160 horsepower and was only about the size of a 250cc class bike.
It is one of the last two-strokes that Kenny Roberts had made and boasts and amazing power-to-weight ratio.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced last year’s MotoFest to be cancelled, but the Proton wasn’t sent back to England and now it is ready to run at the track in 2023.
The two stroke GP bike doesn’t have any engine braking, the engine is slim and so the weight is low down, making the bike quite nimble and easy to change its direction.
Legendary New Zealand bike tuner and engineer Paul Treacy has worked with the bike for the past year and the extremely rare bike will be real eye candy for the thousands of fans expected at MotoFest.
MotoFest will acknowledge some of the Kiwis who made their name on big, raw two-strokes – Kawasaki and Bultaco hero Ginger Molloy, multi-time New Zealand champion Trevor Discombe and long-time racer, sponsor and mentor Bob Haldane.
And let’s not forget some of our other heroes, Waikato’s four-time World Champion and recent MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame inductee Hugh Anderson, the extraordinary Graeme Crosby and three stars of the sport who are sadly no longer with us, Geoff Perry, Kim Newcombe and Rodger Freeth.
And then there are the machines. MotoFest has assembled the biggest line-up of the famous four-cylinder Yamaha TZ750 bikes since the 1970s.
Add to that, some rare Suzuki RG500s, and a sea of Yamaha TZ250 and 350s. Plus there are some other smokin’ specials from the past.
In addition, if people ride their two-stroke to the event or bring it by van or trailer, there’s a special “Show and Shine” area set aside in the infield at Hampton Downs.
They’ll also get to take to the track for special parade laps with the legends and they’ll get free entry to the Saturday night BBQ.
Bring your display bike, your project bike in any state to enter and display. There will be prizes for: Best presented multi cylinder two stroke Street and Racing; Best presented Twin; Best presented Single; Best presented Team; Rare Bike Category; Best Barn Find; Most Optimistic Project (let’s see that rusting hulk).
This fourth annual Star Insure MotoFest extravaganza promises excellence on all fronts, with well-respected identities from all segments of the motorcycle sporting community coming together for a spectacular two days of action.
Star Insure MotoFest again has the support of Kawasaki, as it has since day one, Bridgestone, Motul, Shoei and MTF Finance.
Star Insurance will also sponsor and bring to life the Legends Garage, while manufacturer and trade displays will also have fans spoiled for choice.
Star Insure MotoFest will certainly tick all the boxes with bike enthusiasts if the 2023 edition can match previous MotoFest spectacles.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
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