The 14-year-old, racing for the LMC Husqvarna Racing Team, finished a close runner-up to Levin’s Phoenix Van Dusschoten in the premier junior 14-16 years’ 250cc class during racing at the weekend’s 61st annual New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville.
This event is the biggest and best stand-alone motocross on the Kiwi calendar and that’s where all the sport’s superstars usually come out to play, with Draper certainly registering as one of the stand-outs during Saturday’s junior action.
Draper (Husqvarna FC250) showed maturity and skills beyond his years to finish second, third and then third again in his three outings in the talent-packed junior 250cc class.
“It was certainly a good start to the season,” said LMC Husqvarna Racing Team manager Karl Brabant.
“He’s only 14 years old and now on a 250 … he usually races a 125cc bike.
“The plan is to take him over to Australia to race in the MX3 class, so he has to be on a 250cc bike to be competitive there.
“Hayden really seems to be liking the Husqvarna FC250. He could possibly have been the youngest guy racing in the 250cc class at Woodville. He’s coming along good and we’re proud of him.
“We are looking to the future with a rider like Hayden. We need him to eventually fill the boots of the older guys. The older guys, at some stage, are going to call it a day and Hayden will be right there.”
Meanwhile, fellow LMC Husqvarna Racing Team rider Josh Jack (Husqvarna FC450), from Kaukapakapa, finished an impressive fifth overall in the premier senior MX1 class on Sunday.
The former International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) gold medal winner was in elite company at Woodville on Sunday and his 6-5-4 score-card over the three races – improving his finishing position each time – saw him end the weekend just six points behind multi-time former national MX1 champion Cody Cooper, from Opotiki.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
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