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The FIM Oceania Trials Trophy returns to New Zealand after 2017 Australian Trials  Championships

The four New Zealand riders did very well over the weekend at the Aussie Mototrials Champs with two of the four coming away with Australian titles.

 Our very own Manawatu Orion 14 year old Hannah Rushworth easily took out the Junior Women’s title to add to last weekend’s South Australian title. Congratulations Hannah were all proud of you. Of course Hannah’s week wasn’t without drama after her bike seized when riding the mid week trial on Wednesday. Luckily on Friday a kind Australian came to the rescue and lent her a 125 Gas Gas.

 Dylan Ball won the Junior title to also add to his Sth Australian title last weekend. Well done Dylan.

 Carl Robson came fourth in the Masters grade. He was disappointed with his final result after finishing first on Saturday but then slipping to fifth on Sunday.

 Taranaki's Daniel Herbert rode well too to finish 4th in the Junior grade. Well done Daniel.

 And the Oceania team of Hannah, Dylan and Carl are bringing the Oceania trophy back to NZ too. Good work team.

 Results.      http://www.ajs.asn.au/results/2017/2017-Australian-Championships.htm

South Australian Trials Championships, the weekend before the Australian Trials Championships :

Hannah Rushwort lost no points today so is now Sth Aussie Junior Womens Champ. She’ll have a bit more competition next weekend and hopefully she can pull that off. Sections she’s riding there are way easier than she rides here. She chose to ride Intermediate in New Zealand this year to push herself and does struggle a bit sometimes. Competes in the same grade as Kevin Pinfold so I’m coaching and helping her through the events.

And Kevin doing the same for young Daniel Herbert (Dougies boy) from Taranaki. Can be a bit of a distraction from my own riding sometimes although often after the first lap they look after themselves.

Kevin still managed to win the grade in the NI Champs this year so wasn’t distracted too much. Neither have beaten him yet but sure Daniel will in the not too distant future, but I don’t feel threatened by Hannah yet! But she’s got age (14) on her side, Kevin haven’t!

 Daniel will be riding over there next weekend.

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2018 VERTIGO COMBAT 2018 Trials Bike.

In New Zealand see Kevin Pinfold, trials maestro. 

kptrials@xtra.co.nz  Phone 06 326 8666.

Look at these You Tube videos >>

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ckgz-2MM4X0

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKo93Uyl8nE

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6J-iMBKfgp0

 

 

Vertigo is delighted to launch its new weapon for the upcoming season, the Vertigo Combat Vertical 2018 250cc and 300cc. This means a huge change within the Combat range and it comes with the main goal to keep on gaining solidity as well as reinforcing its quality and reliability. With this brand new Vertical 2018, Vertigo begins his third straight year of motorcycle production with great hopes towards this 2018 model. It features many interesting dynamic and technical components while it adds several aspects that made our former Camo and Ice Hell models unprecedented.

First component we have to take a look at, is its new and redesigned crankcase to improve the sealing of the cases. The injected clutch and ignition cover have also been renovated to reduce the total weight.

One of the most important additions to this Vertical is the brand new ECU by GET, that brings with it a huge optimization of the start-up strategies. In addition, this ECU will incorporate as a highlight element a new device that will give the opportunity to those customers who may want to be able to modify and control the injection process and also the start-up of their Combat Vertical via their smartphone’s Bluetooth.

Linked to the new ECU the electrical harness has also gone through several changes that have made it more simple and reliable. Similarly, the progressive lineal rocker system with optimized Reiger damper adjustment is a huge step forward in terms of damping, dynamism when riding, agility and control over the motorbike.

On this 2018 model Vertigo has also implemented several changes in the geometry system of the kickstart pedal. That will provide further ease during the starting process. Alongside with it, the Vertical features a reinforced sidestand, which will bring better stability and security when the bike is stopped.

The radiator grill is yet another part that has suffered improvements. In this occasion it has been given a new design that develops the airflow and mud evacuation.

When talking about the air filer, the new Vertical 2018 adds jointly a new cover and a Twin Air filter.

The rear mudguard goes on with the improvement’s list, bringing in some features that the former models didn’t have. This time it is only made of two pieces and it has been optimized in its last part.

The decoration, an aspect where Vertigo always places value, has been minded precisely once again. Our corporative green will remain as the predominant colour, featured in the frame and in a large part of the plastics and complements to create a powerful and differing global image.

The red fluorine increases its importance in this outlook by appearing consistently via several details that reinforce the spectacular nature of the Vertical.

One more time, the colours black and white will keep on laying on our bike layout, creating with them some stunning contrasts that bring an impressive result.

Innovation and investigation have been two attributes that Vertigo has owned from the very beginning. The two of them have carefully been taken into account to build this Vertigo Combat Vertical 2018, a motorbike that matches the best of its predecessors to present to our customers a motorbike with great guaranties to enjoy our beloved sport. This new model means a new step forward for the brand, that wants to reinforce its commitment to keep on improving and growing inside the trial industry.

Vertigo Combat Vertical 2018 developments

New crankcase design to improve the sealing of the cases

Injected clutch and ignition cover to reduce the weight

New ECU by GET to optimize start-up strategies

Optimized geometry of the kickstart pedal to help the starting process

New simplified main electrical harness

Progressive lineal rocker system with optimized Reiger damper adjustment

New seat post and rear mudguard

New air filter cover

Twin air filter

New radiator grille to improve airflow and mud evacuation

Green handlebar protector

Renthal grips

Reinforced sidestand

New decoration combining corporate green with details in red fluorin

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Interesting, but how does it work with MX riders twisting themselves into a knot as they jump?

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MOTOCROSS: PER CAIROLI & SIDI IL TITOLO MONDIALE E’ SEMPRE PIU’ VICINO!
In Florida Tony Cairoli è terzo. In MX2 secondo Lawrence e terzo Covington.
English



Maser (Treviso), 04 settembre 2017 –
Festa mondiale rinviata a domenica 10 settembre in Olanda, dove a Tony Cairoli, e Sidi, basterà un 17° posto in gara1 per conquistare il titolo mondiale numero 9.

A Jacksonville in Florida nel round 17 dei 19 previsti dal campionato del mondo 2017 della MXGP Tony Cairoli (Ktm) non è riuscito a chiudere la pratica iridata. Dopo il terzo posto alle spalle di Eli Tomac e Jeffrey Herlings in gara1, il pilota siciliano avrebbe dovuto precedere l'olandese Herlings nella seconda manche per scrivere ancora la storia.

Tutto sembrava andare per il meglio ma nel finale di gara Cairoli ha commesso un errore con conseguente scivolata, in una curva a sinistra. Un errore che gli è costato il sorpasso da parte di Herlings. Tony si è rialzato subito, dovendosi però accontentare della seconda posizione in gara2 e del terzo posto nella classifica finale del gran premio.



In Florida Sidi protgonista anche nella classe MX2 dove l’australiano Hunter Lawrence (Suzuki) e l’americano Thomas Covington (Husqvarna) hanno chiuso rispettivamente al secondo e al terzo posto la classifica del gran premio. In ottica campionato lo svizzero Jeremy Seewer (Suzuki), quarto in Florida, ha recuperato 5 punti sul leader Pauls Jonass.La classifica dice primo Jonass con 696 punti e secondo Seewer con 656…anche la caccia al titolo MX2 per Sidi è ancora aperta.

Come sempre a lottare sul campo e brillare sul podio con i campioni della squadra Sidi ci sono gli sivali Crossfire 3 SRS che rappresentano il top di gamma della collezione offroad Sidi.



Foto in allegato ©MaxZanzani

 
MOTOCROSS: CAIROLI & SIDI COME CLOSER AND CLOSER TO THE WORLD TITLE
Tony Cairoli is third in Florida. In MX2 Lawrence is second and Covington third.
 



Maser (Treviso), 04 September, 2017 –
The world celebration has been postponed until Sunday, September 10th, in Holland, where Tony Cairoli and Sidi will only need to score a 17th place in race 1 to capture their 9th World Title.

In Jacksonville Florida, for round 17 out of 19 in the 2017 MXGP World Championships, Tony Cairoli (Ktm) was unable to seal the iridescent deal. After taking third place behind Eli Tomac and Jeffrey Herlings in race 1, the Sicilian pilot had to beat Holland’s Herlings in the second round to sign his name in history once again.

Everything seemed to be going great but in the final Cairoli made a mistake that led to a slide out in a left curve. It was an error that cost him, since it gave Herlings the chance to pass him. Tony got back up right away, but he had to settle for second place in race 2 and third place in the final standings for the grand prix.



In Florida Sidi also stood out in the MX2 class, where Australian Hunter Lawrence (Suzuki) and American Thomas Covington (Husqvarna) closed out the grand prix standings in second and third place respectively. In terms of the championship, Switzerland’s Jeremy Seewer (Suzuki) came in fourth in Florida to regain 5 points on the leader, Pauls Jonass. The classification has Jonass in first place with 696 points and Seewer in second with 656…so for Sidi the race for the MX2 title is still wide open.

As always, the champions from team Sidi battle it out on the field and shine on the podium in their Crossfire 3 SRS boots, the top models in Sidi’s off-road collection.



Photos attached ©MaxZanzani
 

 

Available Images to download
  • Cairoli1_USA.jpg - ©MaxZanzani
  • Cairoli2_USA.jpg - ©MaxZanzani
  • Covington_MXGP_17_USA_2017.jpg - ©MaxZanzani
  • Covington2_USA.jpg - ©MaxZanzani
  • Lawrence1_USA.jpg - ©MaxZanzani
  • Lawrence2_USA.jpg - ©MaxZanzani
  • Seewer_USA.jpg - ©MaxZanzani

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IN SWEDEN TONY CAIROLI TAKES ANOTHER STRIDE TOWARDS THE WORLD TITLE …
Sidi also a major player with Jeremy Seewer, first in MX2.
 



Maser (Treviso), 21 August, 2017
– On the Uddevalla racetrack in Sweden, for round 16 of the season, Tony Cairoli and Sidi have taken another important step towards capturing the MXGP World Title. Cairoli didn’t make it past ninth place in race1 and seventh place in race2; however some bad luck slowed down his direct rival for the title. In fact, after closing out race1 in second place, in race2 Dutchman Jeffrey Herlings was forced to drop out due to mechanical problems. Therefore, with three races to go to the end (USA, Holland and France), Cairoli is in command with 631 points, followed by Herlings with 530 points. There are 101 points between them, and there are still 150 points in play. It’s going to be a thrilling final, with Herlings giving it his all as he attacks to recover lost ground, while Cairoli will ride with savvy as he tries to defend his position and manage his advantage to capture the 9th iridescent title in his career. As always, Tony Cairoli will be able to count on Sidi’s support; the Sicilian champion races with Crossfire 3 SRS boots, the number one boots in Sidi’s off-road collection.

Watch the highlights from MXGP race by #MXGPTV:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R1l6Hobe4w&t=9s



Besides the battle to capture the MXGP World Title, Sweden also brought much more excitement to Sidi and to all fans of great motocross racing. In the MX2 class that came down to a matter of a hundredth of a second, American Thomas Covington (Husqvarna) was only sixteenth in race1; however, he came away victorious in race2, in front of Switzerland’s Jeremy Seewer (Suzuki), who took second place twice. Covington and Seewer also use the Sidi Crossfire 3 SRS. In any case, the Swiss rider dominated the final standings in the GP, gaining four points on Pauls Jonass, who was third in the GP. Here, too, with only three races to go to the end, Jonass is first in the rankings with 669 points and Seewer is second with 624. Sidi is riding towards victory in the MX2 World Title as well. We are ready and psyched for a grand finale!

Watch the highlights from MX2 race by #MXGPTV:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuD1nuf3m4c



Photos attached ©MaxZanzani

 

Available Images to download
  • Cairoli_S.jpg
  • Seewer1_S.jpg
  • Seewer2_S.jpg
  • Seewer3_S.jpg
Download Photos
   
   
   
   
   
   
 
Media Note: Press Office Sidi Sport | ATCommunication
Tel: + 39 0423.301291 | Cell: +39 389.7984365
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Maser (Treviso), 24 July, 2017 - Tony Cairoli and Sidi took another important step towards capturing the 2017 MXGP World Title in the Czech Republic last weekend. On the Loket racetrack the Sicilian from KTM scored the 13th iridescent event by succeeding Belgium’s Clement Desalle and Dutchman Jeffrey Herlings in race 2 and adding to his third place in race 1 behind Slovenian Tim Gajser and Desalle, once again.

This is the third consecutive win in the season for Tony Cairoli and Sidi (Ottobiano, Agueda and now Loket), which adds up to a total of 83 victories accrued by Cairoli in his career.

The triumph in Loket is important because it helps Cairoli strengthen his lead at the top of the World Series general standings. As of now, with six more races to go until the finish, Tony is strongly in command with 523 points, ahead of Desalle, who has 431. The race towards the 9th World Title continues. Anyway, Tony Cairoli has already made it clear: the goal is to meet and beat the current record held by Stefan Everts, one of Sidi’s shining alumni, who scored a total of 10 titles in his career.

There was joy, but there were also tears. In fact, Tony Cairoli dedicated his GP triumph in the Czech Republic to 12-year-old Igor Cuharciuc, the champion tyke from Moldavia who was died in an accident during the 85cc European Championship on the same Loket racetrack.

Sidi was also a major player in the MX2 class: Switzerland’s Jeremy Seewer (Suzuki) and American Thomas Covington (Husqvarna) ended up on the podium in second and third place, respectively, behind the winner, Pauls Jonass. Jonass currently commands the Word Series with 548 points, followed by a couple of Sidi pilots, Seewer (501 points) and Thomas Kjer-Olsen (403 points).

 

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MOTOCROSS: SIDI TRIUMPHS IN PORTUGAL, “TOO” …
Tony Cairoli wins the MXGP and keeps his lead in the overall. Jeremy Seewer’s victory in MX2.
 



Maser (Treviso), 03 July, 2017 –
After an extraordinary weekend in Ottobiano, Portugal was also the place for another one of Tony Cairoli’s remarkable feats. Round 12 of the 2017 MXGP Championship was held on the Agueda raceway, where the Sicilian rider from Ktm scored another important shot in his quest for the World Championship. Cairoli was second in race 1, where he was bested by Jeffrey Herlings; however, he came back in first place in race 2 to take home the final classification in the Grand Prix competition. So Tony Cairoli hangs on to the red card as the leader in the World Series. Thanks to this victory, now the number 1 member of Sidi’s team has brought his lead in the overall standings of the championship to a 91 point advantage over Clement Desalle, who is in second place.



And it wasn’t all just about Cairoli. The satisfactions for Sidi in Portugal also came from the MX2, where Switzerland’s Jeremy Seewer (Suzuki), second in race1 and first in race2, incited a fantastic duel with the World Series leader Pauls Jonass. This round went to Seewer, but Jonass remains in the lead in the general classification with a consistent margin of 38 points ahead of the Swiss rider. Sidi’s celebration was completed with the third place by American Thomas Covington (Husqvarna) and fourth by the Dane Thomas Kjer Olsen (Husqvarna).



Whether they are battling on the track or shining on the podium, all the champions from Sidi’s fantastic team can count on their Crossfire 3 SRS, the number one boot in Sidi’s off-road collection which has proven to be unbeatable on any type of terrain and in any situation.

Don’t miss the next big date in the MX World Series, in Loket, the Czech Republic, on July 23rd. It will be a race to win!

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2018 Calendar FIM MXGP/MX2/ Women’s Motocross World Championships

FIM Veteran Motocross World Cup

2018 Calendars, 27 June Date

FMNR

Venue

Country

Women, Veteran

4 March

CAMOD

Neuquen

ARGENTINA

25 March

RFME

Red Sands

SPAIN

8 April

FMI

Pietramurata

ITALY

Women

15 April

KMNV

Valkenswaard

THE NETHERLANDS

29 April

MFR

Orlyonok

RUSSIA

13 May

LaMSF

Kegums

LATVIA

20 May

DMSB

Teutschenthal

GERMANY

3 June

ACU

Matterley Basin

GREAT BRITAIN

Women

10 June

FFM

St Jean d'Angély

FRANCE

Women

24 June

FMI

tba

ITALY

8 July

IMI

Palembang

INDONESIA

22 July

LaMSF

Loket

CZECH REP.

Women

5 August

FMB

Lommel

BELGIUM

12 August

FMS

Frauenfeld/Gachnang

SWITZERLAND

19 August

SWEMO

Uddevalla

SWEDEN

2 September

AMA

Gatorback Park

USA

9 September

FMM

Leon

MEXICO

23 September

KMNV

Assen

THE NETHERLANDS

Women, Veteran

30 September

FMI

Imola

ITALY

Women

7 October - Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations – USA, tba

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Maser (Treviso), 08 May, 2017 – At the Latvia GP in Kegums Antonio Cairoli (Ktm) took away the red plate that distinguishes the leader in the motocross World Series. Cairoli was fifth in race 1 and second in race 2, surrendering only to Jeffrey Herlings (Ktm). With this second place obtained in round 7 of the World Series, the Sidi champion got what he wanted anyway, clinching his rebound over Slovenian Tim Gajser (Honda), which started April 16th with the splendid victory at Pietramurata for the Trentino GP. Prior to the Italian race the eight-time World Champion was 20 points behind his rival; now after Latvia, he has a 17 point advantage. Cairoli is in the lead with 258 points, Gajser follows with 241.

In Latvia Sidi also celebrated the fine victory by Thomas Kjer Olsen. The young Dane from Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing took the pole position in the qualifier and won the race. At Kegums he captured his first career victory in the motocross cadet class thanks to his success in race 1 (ahead of the other Sidi star Jeremy Seewer) and second place in race 2. Paul Jonass currently commands the World Series with 287 points, followed however by two Sidi champions: Seewer who is second with 245 and Olsen third with 235 points.

Tony Cairoli, Thomas Kjer Olsen, Jeremy Seewer and all the other stars on team Sidi always battle it out in the dust and mud on the track and then shine on the top spot of the podium with Crossfire 3 Srs boots, the top models in Sidi’s off-road collection.

The next big date with the motocross World Series will be in Germany on Sunday, May 21st.


 

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MOTOCROSS: SIDI TRIUMPHS AT THE TRENTINO GP
Sidi stands out. Tony Cairoli excels in the MXGP. Kiara Fontanesi wins the WMX.
 



Maser (TV), 18 April, 2017 –
The Easter weekend in motorsports brought Sidi colours great satisfaction. In round 5 of the Motocross World Series on the Pietramurata circuit for the Trentino GP, Sidi stood out as a major player along with its champions. As always, they were all wearing their Crossfire 3 boots, the top models in the Sidi off-road collection.

In the MXGP class, Tony Cairoli (Ktm) pulled off another legendary feat. Displaying top form starting from the qualifiers, Cairoli got off to a great start by capturing race1, leaving Tonus behind him in second place but especially getting the best of his number 1 adversary, Tim Gajser, who had to settle for third.

But it was in race2 that Cairoli accomplished a masterful move, prompting an explosion of excitement among the huge crowd present on the Trentino circuit. After falling in the very first strokes, Cairoli got back up and clocked times that were unapproachable for any rival, recovering position after position until he came up on Tim Gajser. The Slovenian won race2, with Cairoli coming in a close second; but this was not enough for Gajser, because final victory in the Trentino GP went to Cairoli. The Sicilian ace and eight-time World Champion himself admitted that Race2 had to have been one of the most impressive feats in his career.

This was an important victory both for morale and for the World Series standings. In fact, Cairoli has managed to block Gajser’s advantage, and with his victory in Trentino he has reduced Gajser’s lead margin by two points; so now Gajser is only 18 points ahead. The two will meet again in the European GP on April 23rd.


Photo: SIDI RIDERS 2017

And the satisfaction doesn’t stop there. Sidi was a major player among the men, but also shined in the women’s field. Kiara Fontanesi (Yamaha) has reclaimed her crown as Queen of Motocross. By coming in first in race1 and second in race2, Kiara triumphed the WMX Trentino GP, which is the second event in the 2017 women’s motocross season. New Zealand’s Duncan is currently in the lead of the general classification for the World Series’, but Kiara is very close behind with only a 5 point disadvantage. The Sidi Championess is seriously vying for her fifth iridescent title.


Photo: KIARA FONTANESI

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BUSH RIDERS EVENTS CALENDER

April 23rd -Sunday Central XC Series Rnd 4 State Highway 2, Eketahuna

May 21st - Sunday Central XC Series Rnd 5 Masterton

June 23rd - Friday AGM & Prizegiving Post Office Hotel, Pahiatua 7pm

July 2nd Sunday Central Enduro Rnd 4 Masterton

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Maser (Treviso), 23 February, 2017 - It is with great satisfaction that Sidi is pleased to announce the renewal of its partnership with Youthstream, the company that manages the exclusive world rights for television broadcasts, promotions and marketing of the FIM Motocross World Championship Series. The World Series season kicks off this weekend with the first test scheduled to take place on the Losail racetrack in Qatar.

Sidi is thus substantiating all of its passion and major commitment to off-road motorcycling, and in particular to a sector like motocross, which is enjoying constant growth in terms of exposure, following and interest all over the world. Sidi has always had a special relationship with the motocross scene. The company based in Maser (Treviso) was founded in 1960, spurred by the intuition and determination of Dino Signori, who is still heading the company with the same spirit with which he started. Throughout the years the company has become a world leader in the production of motorcycling footwear. Many motocross stars of today and yesterday have accomplished remarkable feats wearing Sidi boots on their feet. As we look forward to the season that’s about to start, we could not fail to mention the 8-time World Champion Tony Cairoli, who this year will be vying for a new World Champion title in the MXGP category to add to his collection. Then in the MX2 class there is Switzerland’s Jeremy Seewer, who fought a long, hard battle last year in his quest for the title, and the “terrible” gals in the WMX where we find shining stars like Italy’s Kiara Fontanesi (4-time Women’s World Champion) and Holland’s Nancy Van de Ven. Not to mention all the other up-and-coming young talents in the minor leagues as well.

These champions battle it out in the dust and mud in every corner of the world, and then shine on the highest spot on the podium. This year they will be accompanied in their adventures by Crossfire 3 SRS boots, the new, top-of-the-line models featured in Sidi’s 2017collection. Yes, because for Sidi, the extremely high level of performance by their champions on field is the perfect way to put their products to the test and come up with ever more innovative solutions when it comes to comfort, safety and technology for anyone who rides a motorcycle, from professionals to enthusiasts.

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HUSQVARNA HARD ENDURO THE ULTIMATE TEST

CAPTION: Howick's Liam Draper (Husqvarna FE250), sure to be among the leading riders this weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

 

OCTOBER 17, 2016: If ever there was a test to prove a rider's international potential, then next weekend's inaugural Husqvarna Hard Enduro near Tokoroa is probably it.

 

This ordeal of off-road motorcycle riding is loosely modelled on the famous Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro, held annually in the rugged Carpathian Mountains of Romania.

 

This Kiwi version of Romaniacs is set for the three days of Labour Weekend – Saturday, Sunday and Monday, October 22-24.

 

The treacherous forestry course near Tokoroa should be a near perfect match for what riders might expect if they ever travel to race the notorious Romanian event.

 

"Each day's tracks will be different, up to 150 kilometres in length, and will feature different levels of difficulty – set as gold, silver and bronze grades," said event organiser Sean Clarke.

 

"This event will not be a typical New Zealand hard enduro, were only a few manage to finish. It is an adventure enduro and each grade will be set to give riders a real sense of adventure, as well as testing their ability to complete the grade that they have entered.

 

"Riders will tackle different terrain each day – all in forestry around the Taupo, Tokoroa and Putaruru areas – riding on courses that we will have uploaded to their GPS devices."

 

The three-day event begins with a "prologue" in Tokoroa on Saturday, to qualify riders and to determine their start order for the main race on the two days that follow.

 

The prologue will be staged at the SatCo logging equipment yard in Tokoroa and if riders do not complete at least one lap of the prologue course they will receive a 30-minute penalty and will start at the rear of the field the following day.

 

The event is restricted to 100 entrants and riders will start one at a time, 30 seconds apart.

 

Among the entrants are expected to be the elite of New Zealand's off-road racing community, including current and former national enduro and cross-country champions and, if the saying is true that "you're only as good as your last race", then Howick's Liam Draper should be one of the key riders to watch out for.

 

Draper took his Husqvarna FE250 to a convincing win at the final round of the Dirt Guide Cross-country Series just over a week ago, riding on very similar terrain, also in the Tokoroa area.

 

He was chased all the way that day by eventual series winner Sam Greenslade (KTM), of Coatesville, with former Kiwi international Callan May (Yamaha), from Titirangi, not too far behind him.

 

Riders of this calibre can also be expected to feature near the front of this weekend's Husqvarna Hard Enduro, a talented starting line-up that will also include Kiwi former Romaniacs winner Chris Birch, of Glen Eden, and three visiting riders from Australia.

 

Clarke said gold grade riders can expect two hard days riding that will push them to their limits.

 

"Although not as hard as the Romaniacs event, it will still be a good work-out with a lot of trail riding between the hard bits. There will be between 6-8 hard sections each day.

 

Riding time for the fastest in this grade is expected to be between 5-6 hours with the last rider expected to arrive at the base after about eight hours.

 

All motorcycles must have a working headlight, tail light, spark arrestor and a fire extinguisher fitted. Although a paramedic and ambulance will be based at the main fuel stop, riders must also carry their own survival kits that include a cell phone, first aid kit, survival blanket, water, spare batteries and a tool kit.

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FIM Motocross World Championships  -  2017 Calendars

FIM MXGP/MX2 World Championships

25.02* QMMF Grand Prix of Qatar Losail

05.03 IMI Grand Prix of Indonesia Pangkal Pinang

19.03 CAMOD Grand Prix of Argentina Neuquen

02.04 FMM Grand Prix of Leon - Mexico Leon

16.04 FMI Grand Prix of Italy Maggiora

23.04 KNMV Grand Prix of Europe Valkenswaard

07.05 LaMSF Grand Prix of Latvia Kegums

21.05 DMSB Grand Prix of Germany Teutschenthal

28.05 FFM Grand Prix of France Ernée

11.06 MFR Grand Prix of Russia Orlyonok

25.06 FMI Grand Prix of Trentino Pietramurata

02.07 FMP Grand Prix of Portugal Agueda

09.07 FSM Grand Prix of San Marino Baldasserona

23.07 ACCR Grand Prix of the Czech Republic Loket

06.08 FMB Grand Prix of Belgium Lommel

13.08 FMS Grand Prix of Switzerland Frauenfeld/Gachnang

20.08 SVEMO Grand Prix of Sweden Uddevalla

03.09 AMA Monster Energy Grand Prix of the USA Charlotte

10.09 KNMV Grand Prix of The Netherlands Assen

17.09 FFM Grand Prix of the Pays de Montbéliard Villars-sous-Écot

FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship

05.03 IMI Grand Prix of Indonesia Pangkal Pinang

16.04 FMI Grand Prix of Italy Maggiora

28.05 FFM Grand Prix of France Ernée

23.07 ACCR Grand Prix of the Czech Republic Loket

13.08 FMS Grand Prix of Switzerland Frauenfeld/Gachnang

10.09 KNMV Grand Prix of The Netherlands Assen

FIM Motocross of Nations

01.10 ACU Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations Matterley Basin

FIM Junior Motocross World Championship

30.07 EMF Estonia Lange Motokeskus

FIM Veteran Motocross World Cup

10.09 KNMV Grand Prix of The Netherlands Assen

*: Saturday

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The 2016 New Zealand ATV Championships  -  QUAD BIKE HEROES HEAD TO AMBERLEY

OCTOBER 14, 2016: New Zealand's quad bike elite will converge in the South Island for the biggest event on their calendar in just over a week's time.

 

The 2016 New Zealand ATV (all terrain vehicle) Motocross Championships are to be held near Amberley over Labour Weekend, October 22-23, with organisers hoping to avoid the unpleasant racing conditions that struck the nationals last year in Taranaki, the weather on that occasion forcing the event to be abbreviated.

 

Riders were enveloped in choking dust on day one of the competition last year and then had to contend with clinging mud on day two, although this certainly helped sort the men from the boys.

 

"The nationals are always exciting, always a big challenge for the riders. They always put on a great show down there and it'll be a fantastic weekend," said Motorcycling New Zealand ATV commissioner Jono Keegan, the Taranaki man well aware that his own two sons, Scott and Camo, will be expected to take centre stage regardless of what conditions are to be faced.

 

The Keegan brothers finished first and second overall last season, but they're aware they can taking nothing for granted this time around.

 

Several local riders are expected to be among the many leading title contenders at Amberley, not least of all multi-time national champion Ian Ffitch, who will want to de-throne Scott Keegan.

 

Third overall in the premier class last year was 21-year-old Tauranga rider Mark Goldstone and he should also again be a threat.

 

While much of the focus at the nationals will go on the premier grade, the open class, racing is also expected to be intense in the other categories too, with races scheduled also for the juniors, women and mini quad riders.

 

Kaiwaka 17-year-old Cullen Curtis dominated the 450cc production class last year, scoring four wins on day one. All it needed was a conservative approach in the treacherous slop in day two's solitary 450cc class race for him to take the crown.

 

He settled for a runner-up finish in that race, comfortably enough to earn him the 2015 title.

 

Cullen finished the championship 23 points ahead of Christchurch's Sam George, with New Plymouth's Cory Whitelock taking the third step on the podium, and these riders should again be top title contenders this time around.

 

Other riders to shine in the contrasting conditions last season were Christchurch's Greg Graham, Napier's Wade Taylor and Christchurch's Gary Doig, who finished 1-2-3 respectively in the veterans' class, while Christchurch's Abby Holliday, Stratford's Nicola Reid and Auckland's Nina Kristensen were the leading female racers.

 

The venue is on Lawcocks road, Amberley, and will be signposted from the main road.

Spectator entry is free and racing both days will begin at about 10am.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan

----------------------------

KIWI RIDERS READY TO RUMBLE

SEPTEMBER 20, 2016: Team New Zealand is in Italy and ready to take on the best motocross riders in the world this weekend.

The big annual Motocross of Nations, widely referred to as "The Olympic Games of Motocross", is a one-weekend affair that brings together the word's elite for an event where the racers put aside the past season's bitter rivalries and unite instead along different battle lines, with three-rider teams formed to fly the flags of their respective homelands.

And it will be a talented trio of riders who will represent New Zealand at this season's 70th annual edition of the MXoN, set for Maggiora, near Borgomanero, north-west of Milan, this Saturday and Sunday (Sept 24-25).

Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper (Honda), Takaka's Hamish Harwood (KTM) and Hamilton's Josiah Natzke (KTM) will fly the Kiwi flag on the race track in Italy this weekend, while Taupo businessman Bevan Weal will take care of managing the campaign from behind the scenes.

The Kiwi riders know it won’t be easy facing the world’s elite on such a massive stage, but each of them is determined to put on another good showing.

The three-rider teams are glittering with the biggest names in the sport, including riders from both the United States national championships scene and the predominantly European-based World Motocross Championships.

From rookie first-timers in 1984 to top-10 regulars just over 10 years later, Kiwi motocross riders have boxed well above their weight and often rated among some of the best in the world.

Cooper is one rider in particular who should feel right at home in Italy this weekend, the Honda rider having been an integral part of seven MXoN campaigns in the past.

His wealth of experience could be the difference between the team earning a top 10 result this weekend or failing to qualify among the 20 countries that will reach the final stages of the competition on Sunday.

A top 10 result would be considered a massive achievement for the New Zealanders, especially considering the Kiwis have one of the smallest populations and have the furthest to travel.

With generous support for this year's campaign coming from the sport's governing body here, Motorcycling New Zealand, and from Auckland company Workshop Graphics, along with massive fundraising undertaken by the Taupo Motorcycle Club with their Battle of the Clubs motocross event adding to the coffers, the Kiwi contingent left for Italy in a confident mood.

Credit: Words Andy McGechan

---------------------------------------

The 2017 New Zealand Motocross Championships

 DATES AND VENUES FOR MX NATIONALS ANNOUNCED

SEPTEMBER 13, 2016: It's time to get out your calendars and scribble in a few special dates and places.

 

The schedule for the 2017 New Zealand Motocross Championships have now been set in concrete, with four contrasting types of terrain set to test the country's elite dirt bike racers throughout February and March.

 

The four-round series will kick off near Timaru on February 5, with rounds to follow in Rotorua (February 19) and the Manawatu (March 12), with the final round in Taupo on Saturday, March 25.

 

"We are thrilled to be able to finally get this sorted," said Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner Howard Lilly, from Karaka.

 

"It has been a hard job to get the dates worked out," he said.

 

"We are now looking ahead to a brilliant season. We are thrilled with the four clubs and the venues they are providing."

 

Timaru's track at Pleasant Point has been venue for the opening round for several seasons now, the course there an interesting mix of man-made jumps, hard-pack soil and tricky off-cambers.

 

Rotorua's venue, on steep farmland about 25 kilometres from the city, heading towards Atiamuri, has also been a regular on the nationals calendar, the spectacular course there a favourite with spectators for the viewing that it offers.

 

The Flipp's Motorcycle Park near Himatangi had been granted the third round of the series following the Manawatu-Orion Motorcycle Club's successful first time hosting of the event last season.

 

Lilly said this was reward for and vindication of the way the Manawatu club had presented the venue last year, the sand-based track proving to be incredibly popular with riders and spectators alike.

 

He remarked that it probably should come as no surprise that the Manawatu club met the criteria in the first instance, seeing as it has been the host club of New Zealand's largest motocross, the NZGP at Woodville, every year since 1961.

 

"Manawatu's event last season was widely regarded as the highlight of the series last year," said Lilly.

 

The final round is again set for Taupo, the popular pumice track valued as a true all-weather facility and the event will be held there on a Saturday, rather than the traditional Sunday, to enable the motocross community to celebrate their finals prizegiving in the town on Saturday night.

 

Several international riders are again expected to race the New Zealand nationals, with the Kiwi summer offering a great opportunity for their off-season training.

 

Confirmed venues for the 2017 motocross nationals are:

 

Round 1: February 5, 2017, Christchurch Off Road Club; Backflips Track Timaru.

 

Round 2: February 19, 2017, Rotorua Motorcycle Club; Rotorua Motocross Track.

 

Round 3: March 12, 2017, Manawatu Orion Motorcycle Club; Flipp's Track, Himatangi.

 

Round 4: March 25, 2017, Taupo Motorcycle Club; Digger McEwen Motocross Park.

 

Words by Andy McGechan

------------------------------------

TALENTED TRIO NAMED FOR ITALIAN CAMPAIGN

JULY 28, 2016: New Zealand will pin its hopes on a mix of youth and experience when its three-man squad heads to Italy in September.

 

After much debate and careful consideration, Motorcycling New Zealand's selectors have this week settled on its team for the big annual Motocross of Nations (MXoN), a season-ending clash of countries that is often referred to as "the Olympic Games of motocross".

 

And so it will be Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper, Takaka's Hamish Harwood and Hamilton's Josiah Natzke who will fly the Kiwi colours at the 2016 edition of the MXoN at Maggiora, in north-western Italy, on the weekend of September 24-25.

 

"It has taken a lot of discussion and we are happy with the team that we have selected," said Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner Howard Lilly.

 

"It made the final decision harder because we had to deal with injuries popping up, but it will be exciting to see the old working with the new, particularly with Cody and Josiah.

 

"I certainly hope we can qualify (for the final races), that's the first goal, and then we'll see if we can finish among the top 15 after that. That's realistic."

 

With support from West Harbour-based company Workshop Graphics, the Taupo Motorcycle Club and Motorcycling New Zealand, the squad will be managed by Bevan Weal, the 47-year-old the owner of a Taupo sign and graphics company.

 

National MX1 champion Cooper has been a regular for New Zealand at the MXoN.

 

He has raced eight times at the MXoN since his debut at the event in France in 2005 and he was one of the Kiwi trio to finish on the podium when the MXoN was held in England in 2006.

 

Meanwhile, current national MX2 (250cc) champion and former Australian under-19 champion Harwood has raced just once before for New Zealand at the MXoN, in Latvia in 2014, when the Kiwi team failed to qualify for the final point-scoring races.

 

This year's event in Italy will be Natzke's MXoN debut, although he has raced extensively in Europe over the past two years, finishing runner-up in the European 125cc Championships last season.

 

The Kiwi trio that raced at the MXoN in France last year comprised Cooper and fellow Bay of Plenty riders Ben Townley and Kayne Lamont and they finished eighth overall among the more than 30 countries entered. Townley and Lamont are unavailable this season because of injury.

 

The New Zealand Team has supporters clothing available, all proceeds from this clothing goes directly towards the team.

 

Limited edition Tracktion hoodies $69 each and limited edition Staple Tee's $35 each. Available from the MNZ on-line store.

 

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

--------------------------

The 2016 Motocross of Nations

 

GREAT SUPPORT FOR KIWI CAMPAIGN TO ITALY

 

Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper wears a shirt with Workshop Graphics branding during the Team New Zealand campaign in France last year.

JUNE 30, 2016: New Zealand can count of support from a generous motorcycling community when it takes on the world's elite at the Motocross of Nations in Italy later this year.

 

The three-man squad of riders is yet to be named, but already preparations have begun for an assault on this year's 70th annual Motocross of Nations (MXoN), set for Maggiora, in north-western Italy, on the weekend of September 24-25.

 

Freshly-appointed team manager Bevan Weal will take care of the logistics and, with financial backing from Darryl Blom, of Auckland company Workshop Graphics, and also thanks to last weekend's fundraising efforts by the Taupo Motorcycle Club and also with support from Motorcycling New Zealand, the Kiwi riders can relax and fully concentrate on the business of racing their bikes at this years' big event, often referred to as the "Olympic Games of motocross".

 

With backing from West Harbour-based company Workshop Graphics, the Taupo Motorcycle Club – which raised about $9000 at last weekend's Battle of the Clubs event – and with work behind the scenes from MNZ, the sport's governing body here, it is hoped Team New Zealand can again achieve well at this ultimate level of the sport.

 

"To build Workshop Graphics into a great business, I believe you must first give back and get in behind the industry, support the brands, dealers, clubs and riders and hopefully they will support you," said Blom, Workshop Graphics Limited's director and chief designer.

 

"I am personally 'over the moon' that Workshop Graphics can once again support New Zealand’s bid towards the MXoN. I am a very proud Kiwi bloke, who would love nothing more than to see Team New Zealand take the win in Italy and I consider myself very fortunate to be in a position to offer support."

 

The steep, hillside course at Maggiora, north-west of Milan, last hosted the MXoN in 1986, when the three-man team from the United States finished first and second in all three races, the most dominant performance by one country ever in the history of the event.

 

This year marks the 30th anniversary of that occasion in 1986.

 

The Team New Zealand riders will be among the many who will try to prevent that American whitewash happening again, although the defending MXoN champion team from France, last year's third-ranked team from Belgium and the Italian hosts will be among the more fancied contenders this September.

 

However, the Americans perhaps still remain the most-fancied to win it outright, having won the MXoN a record 22 times in the event's 69-year history.

 

With 16 wins, Great Britain is the second most successful country at the MXoN and Belgium is third with 15 outright victories.

 

New Zealand has finished a remarkable third outright at the MXoN on three memorable occasions in the past – in England in 1998, in Belgium in 2001 in England again in 2006.

 

The New Zealand Team has supporters’ clothing available, with all proceeds from this clothing goes directly to supporting the team to compete at Maggiora.

 

Limited Edition Tracktion Hoodies $69 each & Limited Edition Staple Tee's $35 each. Available from the MNZ On Line Store.

 

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan

--------------------------------

NZ 'MANIACS' HEADING INTO THE CARPATHIAN MOUNTAINS

 

CAPTION: Tokoroa's Sean Clarke, with one of the official New Zealand rider shirts. He will lead the Kiwi contingent that heads to Romania next month. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.co

JUNE 22, 2016: It seems that when the going gets tough, the Kiwis get going.

The world renowned annual Red Bull Romaniacs extreme enduro event in central Europe is not for the faint-hearted, the weak or the fearful and that's perhaps why this brutal dirt bike marathon appeals to a growing band of intrepid Kiwi motorcycle racers.

Tokoroa's Sean Clarke has competed in this gruelling event in the rugged Carpathian Mountains of Romania on a number of occasions and this year he will again lead a large contingent of New Zealand entrants.

The five-day race runs from July 12-16, starting and finishing in the town of Sibiu.

"There has been a core group of us who have gone to race at The Romaniacs since about 2011 – myself, Taupo's Mark Delatour and Glen Eden's Chris Birch – and we've all returned safely and in one piece to pass on our stories about the event. There's a great atmosphere there and we tell the riders back home that they should give it a crack."

Birch won the race outright in 2010, the only New Zealander ever to do so, but he will not be competing this year.

"Many other riders have joined us in the years that followed and an interest in contesting this race has grown," said Clarke.

"We had 12 New Zealand riders go over in 2012, then 24 the following year and now we have 29 who will tackle the race.

"Nothing really compares to the difficulty of New Zealand hard enduros, where it's very hard to survive until the end, so we tell these guys there's nothing for them to fear in Romania."

New Zealander riders Jake Whitaker, Dougy Herbert and Phillip Cheater are entered in the premier "gold" class this year, while fellow Kiwis Craig Thompson, Rob Fraser, Mark Delautour, Raymond Lampriere, Jacques Bakkenes, Warren Laugesen, Josh Hunger, Grant Herbert, Sean Clarke, brothers Hamish and Angus Macdonald, Carey Thompson, Wayne Thompson, Phil Singleton, Mackenzie Wiig, Kelly Paterson and Ryan Armitage are registered as "silver" class riders. Fellow New Zealanders Lucas, Clinton and Tony Walch, Mathew Thorburn, Ricky Kilgour, Duncan Mclaren, Robert and Michael Vandenberg and Dean Christmas are entered as "bronze" class riders.

With sponsorship support, the squad has had special riding shirts made up for them, manufactured by Levin company Classic Apparel, and this means they will certainly stand out in the crowd.

The New Zealand squad is supported by Motorcycling New Zealand, Satco Logging Equipment, Kiwi Rider magazine, Forest Trail Events, Enza, Stihl Shop Cambridge, KTM Makzgear, Power Farming Taranaki, Korito Farms and Xquizitehomes.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan

------------------------------

DUNCAN DETERMINED TO PUSH CLOSER TO WORLD TITLE

MAY 5, 2016: It is going to be another big weekend ahead for diminutive Kiwi motocross racer Courtney Duncan.

But, while the 20-year-old Otago girl may be petite of stature, rivals may underestimate her at their peril.

She lacks nothing in terms of talent or tenacity and she heads to the third round of six in the Women's World Motocross Championships in Germany this weekend in a confident mood.

The Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team rider has every right to feel confident after sparkling at the first two rounds of the series thus far – in Qatar and The Netherlands respectively – and the challenging track for this weekend's action, at Teutschenthal, near Leipzig, should suit her aggressive style perfectly.

With three wins from four starts in those earlier two rounds, Duncan leads the championship standings by seven points from Kawasaki's French former world champion Livia Lancelot, with Dutch Yamaha rider Nancy Van De Ven three points further back in third.

A "novice" on the world championship scene, Palmerston's Duncan has sent a few ripples through the competition after she scored back-to-back wins on debut in Qatar and followed that up by winning the second race of the day in The Netherlands by a stunning 25-second margin.

She had suffered a crash in the first race in the deep Dutch sand but recovered to finish fourth, so far the only glitch in her campaign.

"I have this attitude that I want to win and not just in motocross, but in everything that I do. Even playing cards with my friends at a young age, to playing rugby at school, I had to win," said Duncan.

Her entire career has been sharpening Duncan for a crack at the world crown.

"I've always raced against the boys at home and raced for national titles against the boys.

"I'm confident in my programme, I'm confident in my set-up. I know I have the best people helping me. The big thing is for me to make sure I'm prepared and the best I can be.

"To become a women's world champion would mean everything to me and I've had the goal in mind since such a young age. I thrive on the challenge."

Racing against the boys, she finished sixth in the 85cc class at the Junior Motocross World Championships in 2009, but now she's rapidly closing in on the No.1 spot and her performance in Germany on Saturday and Sunday could help seal that.

The fourth of six rounds in the Women's Motocross World Championships is set for France on June 5, with Switzerland to follow on August 7, before it all wraps up at Assen, in The Netherlands again, on August 28.

Duncan and her Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing team is supported by Altherm Window Systems, Yamaha, JCR, CRC, Ados, GYTR, Yamalube, Fox Racing, Hollands Collision Centre, Star Moving, Ward Demolition, Fulton Hogan, Pirelli, FMF, DID, NGK, Matrix, Renthal, Motomuck, Workshop Graphics, Motoseat, Hammerhead, SKF, Vertex Pistons, Rtech Plastics, Etnies, Biketranz and Fulton Hogan.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan

----------------------------

TOWNLEY EIGHTH IN DRAMA-PACKED LATVIAN MXGP   Team Suzuki Press Office – May 1. 
Ben Townley made a determined if somewhat dramatic comeback to MXGP action at Kegums for the Grand Prix of Latvia today. 

Ben Townley #8, Kevin Strijbos #22
A good enthusiastic crowd filled the shallow banks at the dry, loose and extremely bumpy circuit and the New Zealander, on his first visit to Kegums, rode to eighth overall on his works RM-Z450 as team-mate Kevin Strijbos was forced to retire from the second moto with a damaged clutch as a result of a collision between the athletes. 

After requiring a quick medical check on a bashed left ring finger and knee due to his collision in the Saturday Qualification Heat, Townley was still able to enter the start gate with designs on the top-five of the MXGP pack and in his first appearance since recovering the from the virus that caused him to miss trips to Argentina and Mexico. 

Bright skies threw generous light onto the orange Kegums soil and the surface churned into a plethora of punishing ruts and treacherous bumps that required elements of risk as much as a calculated approach. Townley rode positively in the first moto (despite touching the gate) to made good on a top-10 first lap slot and follow Strijbos across the line with both Suzukis going 6-7 in a steady initial sprint. 

In the second moto the team-mates came together on the opening lap in a smash that saw Townley hit the ground and Strijbos sustain some damage (a holed clutch) that caused the bike to smoke. Strijbos – who was dealing with the effects of a painful back – was riding well and moved up to third place by passing Jeremy Van Horebeek until he lost power and stopped on the 12th lap of 17. The Belgian was forced out and returned to the paddock. Townley, who was almost last on the first lap, climbed all the way from last to 13th in what was a damage-limitation exercise. 

“The guys just came together, one took an inside line and one an outside line and Ben crashed and Kevin had a hole in the clutch,” commented Suzuki World MXGP General Manager Stefan Everts. “It was a real shame because both were riding well this weekend and we had a decent build-up to the Grand Prix. We could see that Kevin’s bike had some trouble either through water or oil and Ben just had to fight back again. I know Kevin is disappointed and was capable of something really good this weekend and Ben is unhappy with what happened but also showed some good things.” 

Strijbos is eighth in the MXGP standings while Townley reactivates his scorecard down in 15th after six rounds of 18. Team Suzuki World MXGP now moves onto the dips and drops of Teutschenthal for the Grand Prix of Germany next weekend. 

Kevin Strijbos: 

“Not so much luck so far this year. The first moto was pretty good and I was catching Febvre until I made a couple of mistakes and then a really big one where I almost lost the bike and had to run off the track. Despite that I was still feeling good for the second and had a slightly better start. On the first lap I picked a rut on the outside and Ben came through and hit me. He crashed from that move and hit me really hard, I was worried about the engine but saw I still had power and carried on. I was feeling great and gaining positions and time but I also had to adjust the clutch quite a lot until eventually it just ran out. I had to stop and the guys saw a big hole through the clutch cover. My back was not too bad today and overall I feel like we are going in a good direction.” 

Ben Townley: 

“A bit of a shocker to be honest. I moved too early along with Clement [Desalle] in the first moto and just had to put my head down and see where I’d end up. On the first lap of the second race there was a lot of jostling going on. I went inside and I saw Kevin go wide but didn't expect him to come back as quickly as he did. We touched and I went down and he obviously paid for it later. If it had happened on lap 15, say, then I’d understand people being upset but it was on the first and pretty chaotic. Just one of those racing things and it was a shame. After that I just did what I could. Stefan had told me that the track would get rough and demanding so I played it safe out there. There are some positive signs from this weekend and I really just need to put everything together in one Grand Prix to show what I can do and it hasn’t happened yet this year.” 

MXGP Moto1: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 33:55.987; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:01.545; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:05.654; 4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:10.263; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:15.166; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki World MXGP), +0:32.318; 7. Ben Townley (NZL, Suzuki World MXGP), +0:51.441; 8. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:58.559; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +1:10.768; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +1:14.646. 

MXGP Moto 2: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), 34:06.040; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:12.420; 3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:18.547; 4. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:24.293; 5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:25.970; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:38.669; 7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:42.406; 8. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:47.558; 9. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:04.696; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +1:07.333; 11. Milko Potisek (FRA, Yamaha), +1:09.068; 12. Tanel Leok (EST, KTM), +1:10.218. 13. Ben Townley (NZL, Suzuki World MXGP), +1:11.515. 27. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki World MXGP), -6 lap(s). 

MXGP Overall result: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 43 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 42 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 41 p.; 4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 38 p.; 5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 38 p.; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 27 p.; 7. Christophe Charlier (FRA, HUS), 26 p.; 8. Ben Townley (NZL, Suzuki World MXGP), 22 p.; 9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 21 p.; 10. Milko Potisek (FRA, YAM), 20 p.; 11. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 19 p.; 12. Tanel Leok (EST, KTM), 18 p.; 13. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 17 p. 14. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki World MXGP), 15 p. 

MXGP World Championship Standings (after 6 of 18 rounds): 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 260 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 259 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 213 p.; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 203 p.; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 200 p.; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 197 p.; 7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 143 p.; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki World MXGP), 142 p.; 9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 121 p.; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 116 p.; 11. Tommy Searle (GBR, KAW), 110 p.; 12. Christophe Charlier (FRA, HUS), 98 p.; 13. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 82 p.; 14. Milko Potisek (FRA, YAM), 79 p.; 15. Ben Townley (NZL, Suzuki World MXGP), 71 p.

 

------------------------------------------

The 2016 Altherm JCR Yamaha NZ Junior Motocross Championships

 

JUNIOR KIWI RACERS READY TO STEP UP

APRIL 19, 2016: It will be all about young racers stepping up to be counted when the 2016 New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships blast off in Hawke's Bay this weekend.

 

A traditional 'nursery ground' for the sport, this year's Altherm JCR Yamaha-sponsored junior nationals should again offer a few clues as to where the senior champions of the future will come from and, if several notable past examples are taken into account, it could also hint at which individuals might even go on to become world champions in the years to come.

 

World class riders such as Taranaki brothers Darryll, Shayne and Damien King, Motueka's Josh Coppins, Bay of Plenty's Ben Townley, Hamilton's Josiah Natzke and Otago's Courtney Duncan can all trace their beginnings back to their junior motocross days in New Zealand.

 

So plenty could be at stake for the future racing careers of young championship hopefuls this weekend.

 

Ohaupo's Trent Collins is one rider who will hope to step up and be counted this weekend. He finished runner-up to Ngatea's Ben Broad in the eldest of the junior categories last year and, with Broad now categorised as a full-time senior racer and out of the junior scene, the way is perhaps clear for Honda rider Collins to dominate the 14-16 years' 250cc four-stroke class this time around.

 

Collins will, however, be wary of the threats posed by riders such as Te Puke’s Tyler Steiner, Tauranga's Josh Tredinnick, Feilding's Tony Cvitanovich, Wellington's Adam Moss, Napier's Hadleigh Griffiths, Opunake's Liam Read and Balclutha's Madison Latta, to name a few.

 

Reefton's Bailey Banks won the 12-14 years' 125cc class title last season and Collins will need to be respectful of him too. Banks is now riding a 250cc four-stroke KTM bike and prepared to "mix it with the big boys" in the 250cc class.

 

Meanwhile, it won't be so much as stepping up, but holding strong for Taupo's Wyatt Chase this weekend.

 

The 16-year-old Yamaha ace won the 15-16 years' 125cc class last year. He returns to defend that crown and is unlikely to be threatened.

 

The real battling in this class will probably be for the No.2 spot, with Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis, Taihape's Hayden Smith and Havelock North's Ollie Ayre perhaps the most likely candidates.

 

Dunedin's Grason Veitch won the 11-12 years' 85cc class last year, but now steps up to the 12-14 years' 125cc class and he will expect tough competition from riders such as Palmerston North's Zac Jillings and Tuakau's Jesse Te Kani.

 

In the various 85cc classes, expect top performances from the likes of Walton's Brodie Connolly, Oparau's James Scott, Christchurch's Marshall Phillips, Napier's Luka Freemantle, Rongotea's Seth Henson, Rangiora's Cobie Bourke, New Plymouth's Logan Kerrisk, Palmerston North's Hunter Miller and Hamilton brothers Dylan and Nick Westgate.

 

The site for racing this Saturday and Sunday is at a relatively new venue, Ngaruroro Raceway, 160 Mere Road, Fernhill, just outside Hastings, with race action set to begin at about 10am both days.

  Words Andy McGechan

-----------------------------

The 2016 New Zealand Motocross Championships

 

COOPER  HOLDS AUSSIE INVADERS AT BAY

 

CAPTION: The MX1 class podium for 2016 (from left) Queenstown's Scott Columb, Australia's Dean Ferris, Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper, Australia's Todd Waters and Taupo's Brad Groombridge.

 

MARCH 21, 2016: Bay of Plenty's Cody Cooper "got the job done" in Taupo at the weekend.

 

The 32-year-old from Mount Maunganui successfully defended his MX1 crown at the fourth and final round of the New Zealand Motocross Championships at the Digger McEwen Motorcycle Park facility on Sunday, brilliantly fending off stern challenges from two Australian riders, both of whom were former Grand Prix stars in Europe, and a slew of very fast fellow Kiwis as well.

 

Cooper (Honda) started the day just three points in front of Gold Coast rider Todd Waters (Suzuki) and five ahead of Kyogle's Dean Ferris (Yamaha), the two Australians who had threatened most to end Cooper's three-year reign as New Zealand's No.1 motocross racer.

 

Fourth best in the points at the start of Sunday was Queenstown's Scott Columb, (Kawasaki), with Taupo's Brad Groombridge (Suzuki) rounding out the top five.

 

Only the two visiting Australians had a realistic chance of overcoming Cooper and it was these three riders who again dominated proceedings at Taupo on  Sunday.

 

When Ferris won the first of three MX1 races on Sunday, the dynamics had changed remarkably and Ferris had gone from third, and five points adrift of Cooper, to second and just two points behind.

 

When Cooper won race two from Ferris, with Waters again finishing third, the Kiwi hero had snatched back the initiative and restored his advantage to five points.

 

That made the mathematics painfully simple: Even if Ferris won the third and final race of the day, second place would be enough for Cooper to keep his crown for a fourth consecutive season.

 

And that's exactly how it panned out, Ferris winning comfortably while Cooper cruised home in second, all the time watching over his shoulder for a late charge and "spoiling" attack from Waters.

 

The threat from Waters never came and it was a calm and relaxed Cooper who crossed the finish line second and sealed up the title again.

 

"The second race win today is what won the title for me and I got the job done," said Cooper. "It gave me the five-point buffer I needed. It was a battle though. Dean (Ferris) passed me in that race and I had to fight back."

 

The other two championship classes were a little more cut and dried.

 

In the MX2 (250cc) class, Takaka's Hamish Harwood (KTM) started the day with a 13-point lead over his nearest rival, Australian Jed Beaton (Yamaha), and, in the 125cc class, Ngatea's Ben Broad (KTM) was 23 points ahead of his closest threat, Taupo's Wyatt Chase (Yamaha).

 

Both Harwood and Broad prevailed on Sunday with solid, sensible riding and claimed their respective titles.

 

Final leading standings in the 2016 New Zealand Motocross Championships:

 

MX1 class: 1. Cody Cooper (Mount Maunganui, Honda) 267 pts; 2. Dean Ferris (Australia, Yamaha) 265; 3. Todd Waters (Australia, Suzuki) 255; 4. Scott Columb (Queenstown, Kawasaki) 197; 5. Brad Groombridge (Taupo, Suzuki) 190.

 

MX2 class: 1. Hamish Harwood (Takaka, KTM) 259 pts; 2. Jed Beaton (Australia, Yamaha) 242; 3. Kayne Lamont (Mangakino, Yamaha) 221; 4 equal. Ethan Martens (Waitakere, Yamaha) and Micah McGoldrick (Rangiora, Honda) 197.

 

125cc class: 1. Ben Broad (Ngatea, KTM) 283 pts; 2. Wyatt Chase (Taupo, Yamaha) 263; 3. Blake Gillard (Beachlands, KTM) 190; 4. Kurtis Lilly (Karaka, Husqvarna) 186; 5. Maximus Purvis (Mangakino, KTM) 182.

 

Words and photo by Andy McGechan

--------------------------------------

The 2016 New Zealand Motocross Championships

 

BATTLE FOR MOTOCROSS GLORY GOES DOWN TO THE WIRE

MARCH 16, 2016: Like any good thriller, it's not until the final chapter that everything gets sorted out.

 

It's the same with the 2016 New Zealand Motocross Championships, a series that has had it all already this season – accidents, crashes, injuries, sensational charges through the pack, mechanical issues and last-lap passes – and it is set to produce even more drama at the fourth and final round at the Digger McEwen Motorcycle Park in Taupo this weekend.

 

The popular sand and pumice-based track is virtually an all-weather facility and, with its central North Island location, it is bound to attract plenty of spectators this weekend. Fans who have missed the earlier action in Timaru, Himatangi and Rotorua will not want to miss this final showdown.

 

The mathematics is simple, if Ngatea's Ben Broad finishes third or better in his three races in Taupo on Sunday, he'll win the 125cc title regardless of where Taupo's Wyatt Chase finishes.

 

Karaka's Kurtis Lilly is third overall, 43 points behind Broad, and he will be keen to move up or at least just protect his podium position.

 

With a maximum 75 points on offer on Sunday, riders such as Beachlands' Blake Gillard, Feilding's Tony Cvitanovich and Papakura's Sean O'Connor could also move themselves up and onto the 125cc podium.

 

Mathematically speaking, if Takaka's Hamish Harwood can beat Australian visitor Jed Beaton or at least finish no worse than one place behind Beaton in their three remaining races, he'll win the MX2 (250cc) title.

 

With a maximum 75 points available in this class too, any one of another six or seven riders could also move themselves onto the podium.

 

Currently third overall, Waitakere's Ethan Martens will have his work cut out preventing Mangakino's Kayne Lamont, Rangiora's Micah McGoldrick and Reporoa's Hadleigh Knight, among others, from snatching away his podium spot.

 

In the MX1 class this weekend, the maths charts get thrown out the window.

 

Aside from intervention by a rogue sniper, an outbreak of the plague or a tornado strike, one of just three men can win this premier title.

 

Mount Maunganui's defending national MX1 champion Cody Cooper and Australian pair Todd Waters and Dean Ferris are locked in an incredibly tight three-way battle.

 

Just five points separate this trio and the difference in each race between finishing first and third is exactly five points. It doesn't get much tighter than that.

So there you have it, the championship status in a nutshell.

 

Racing kicks off at about 10am.

 

Credit: Words by Andy McGechan

-------------------------------------------------

COOPER TRUE TO HIS WORD

MARCH 13, 2016: Cody Cooper's title defence is back on track.

The Honda rider from Mount Maunganui arrived at Rotorua for the third round of four in the New Zealand Motocross Championships on Sunday with his national MX1 title defence in disarray.

 

He was in third place overall in the MX1 standings and a distant 19 points behind Australian rider Dean Ferris, with another Australian visitor, Todd Waters, second in the standings and five points ahead of the Kiwi hero.

 

By the end of the day, however, everything had been given a massive shake-up – Cooper was now leading the championship chase, five points ahead of Waters, with Ferris slumping back to third position.

 

Before the weekend began, Cooper had vowed to "toughen up", so it was a delightfully no-nonsense Cooper who lived up to his words at Rotorua on Sunday, posting a 1-1-2 score-card in his three races.

 

"I really would have liked to win that last race, but I mucked it up on the downhill section on the last lap and Dean (Ferris) snatched it away. It sucks when you lose a race on the last lap.

 

"But I have to be thankful too. I was a long way behind at the start of the day and now I'm leading," he shrugged.

 

It was a similar case of upsets in the MX2 (250cc) and 125cc classes with the respective class leaders not winning the day on Sunday.

 

In the MX2 class it's still Takaka's Hamish Harwood at the top of the championship standings, but it was Mangakino's Kayne Lamont, only eighth equal overall at the start of the day, who came on strong on Sunday, scoring an impressive hat-trick of wins at Rotorua to shoot up to fourth in the rankings.

 

In the 125cc class, Ngatea's Ben Broad remains the championship leader, but his advantage over Taupo's Wyatt chase has been trimmed from 28 points to 23 after Chase won the day at Rotorua, posting a 1-2-1 score-card on the rough and hilly track off State Highway 30 at Horohoro, the venue just 20 kilometres from the Rotorua town centre.

 

It will therefore go down to the wire at the final round next weekend, especially in the MX1 class, where the margins are so slight.

 

The fourth and final round of the series is set for the Digger McEwen Motocross Park facility, on the outskirts of Taupo, on Sunday (March 20).

 

Leading championship standings after the third of four rounds of the New Zealand Motocross Championships near Rotorua on Sunday:

 

MX1 class: 1. Cody Cooper (Mount Maunganui, Honda) 198 pts; 2. Todd Waters (Australia, Suzuki) 195; 3.Dean Ferris (Australia, Yamaha) 193; 4. Scott Columb (Queenstown, Kawasaki) 145; 5. Brad Groombridge (Taupo, Suzuki) 142.

 

MX2 class: 1. Hamish Harwood (Takaka, KTM) 197 pts ; 2. Jed Beaton (Australia, Yamaha) 184; 3. Ethan Martens (Waitakere, Yamaha) 163; 4. Kayne Lamont (Mangakino, Yamaha) 149; 5. Micah McGoldrick (Rangiora, Honda) 143.

 

125cc class: 1. Ben Broad (Ngatea, KTM) 214 pts; 2. Wyatt Chase (Taupo, Yamaha) 191; 3. Kurtis Lilly (Karaka, Husqvarna) 148; 4. Blake Gillard (Beachlands, KTM) 140; 5= Tony Cvitanovich (Feilding, KTM) and Sean O'Connor (Papakura, Yamaha) 126.

 

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

-----------------------------------------------------

The 2016 New Zealand Motocross Championships

POINTS GET RE-SHUFFLED IN THE MANAWATU

FEBRUARY 29, 2016: The Australians came on strong at round two of the 2016 New Zealand Motocross Championships in the Manawatu on Sunday, but it was two Kiwi riders who produced the most comprehensive winning results.

 

While Trans-Tasman visitors Dean Ferris and Todd Waters were carving one another up in the MX1 class, it was Takaka's Hamish Harwood and Ngatea's Ben Broad who enjoyed the most individual success at this second of four rounds in the series near Himatangi on Sunday.

 

Harwood, the South Islander now basing himself in Waitakere, produced a 1-2-1 score-card over his three MX2 (250cc) class races at the sand-based Himatangi track on Sunday and has now stretched his championship lead from six to 17 points over the new second-ranked rider, another Australian invader, Victoria's Jed Beaton.

 

Reporoa's Hadleigh Knight, Waitakere's Ethan Martens and Rangiora's Micah McGoldrick round out the top five in this class as the series now reaches the halfway stage.

 

"Yes, my day went pretty good," said the 20-year-old Harwood in classic understatement, the KTM rider actually contesting two classes and finishing the day sixth overall in the MX12 category as well.

 

"I have a comfortable buffer now over second place (in the MX2 class). I won't back off or relax though. I still want to get as many race wins as I can.

 

"I have never won a senior title in New Zealand and obviously that's the aim."

 

Harwood won junior titles in New Zealand and in Australian in 2011 and was Australian under-19 champion in 2013.

 

The 125cc class is always frantic, but Hauraki Plains College pupil Broad was simply superb, racing his way to a hat-trick of wins

 

He now enjoys a 28-point advantage over the new No.2 rider in this class, Taupo's Wyatt Chase, who managed 3-2-2 results on Sunday.

 

Another to move up was Feilding's Tony Cvitanovich, the just-turned 16-year-old rider climbing from fourth to third in the standings after a solid 4-4-3 performance on Sunday.

 

Gold Coast riders Ferris and Waters shared race wins between them in the MX1 class and finished the day at Himatangi first and second respectively, with Mount Maunganui's defending national champion Cody Cooper slipping back to third overall in the standings.

 

Ferris is 14 points clear of new second-ranked rider Waters, with Cooper five points further back and Queenstown's Scott Columb and Taupo's Brad Groombridge round out the top five in the MX1 class as the riders now prepare for round three in two weeks' time.

 

The second half of the Kiwi motocross calendar takes riders to the Rotorua Motorcycle Club's track for round three on March 13, with the fourth and final round set for the Digger McEwen Motocross Park facility, on the outskirts of Taupo, on March 20.

 

Leading championship standings after the second of four rounds of the New Zealand Motocross Championships near Palmerston North on Sunday:

 

MX1 class: 1. Dean Ferris (Australia, Yamaha) 145 points; 2. Todd Waters (Australia, Suzuki) 131; 3. Cody Cooper (Mount Maunganui, Honda) 126; 4. Scott Columb (Queenstown, Kawasaki) 101; 5. Brad Groombridge (Taupo, Suzuki) 97.

 

MX2 class: 1. Hamish Harwood (Takaka, KTM) 139; 2. Jed Beaton (Australia, Yamaha) 122; 3. Hadleigh Knight (Reporoa, Husqvarna) 104; 4. Ethan Martens (Waitakere, Yamaha) 103; 5. Micah McGoldrick (Rangiora, Honda) 97.

 

125cc class: 1. Ben Broad (Ngatea, KTM) 147; 2. Wyatt Chase (Taupo, Yamaha) 119; 3. Tony Cvitanovich (Feilding, KTM) 107; 4. Kurtis Lilly (Karaka, Husqvarna) 103; 5. Blake Gillard (Beachlands, KTM) 88.

 by Andy McGechan

---------------------------------------------

The 2016 New Zealand Motocross Championships

 AUSSIES VERSUS THE KIWIS FOR MX GLORY

FEBRUARY 23, 2016: Trans-Tasman sporting rivalry rears up again this weekend with the second round of four in the 2016 New Zealand Motocross Championships blasts off in the Manawatu.

 

Australians and Kiwis have had a fierce sporting rivalry going on since old colonial times and, while it is mostly friendly, both sides do love the niggle and the gloves are set to come off again at the Flipp's Motocross Park facility at Himatangi, near Palmerston North, on Sunday.

 

New Zealand riders have won Australian titles in the past – Cody Cooper, Daryl Hurley, Kayne Lamont, Hamish Harwood a few of those special Kiwis with Aussie trophies tucked away in their cabinets – but the Australians had their revenge last year when Gold Coast rider Jay Wilson took the New Zealand MX2 crown.

 

The question being asked now is could an Aussie steal our silverware again in 2016?

 

Australian riders Dean Ferris, Todd Waters and Jed Beaton put themselves solidly on the podium at the opening round of four in this year's New Zealand Motocross Championships series near Timaru three weeks ago and perhaps they will head to round two in the Manawatu this weekend bracing for the inevitable Kiwi backlash.

 

Ferris and Waters finished the day at Timaru first and third respectively in the glamour MX1 class, sandwiching Mount Maunganui's defending national champion Cody Cooper between them.

 

With just 13 points to separate the top three in this class, anything is still possible and, although he was unbeaten at round one, Ferris can't afford to rest on his laurels when racing lights up on Sunday.

 

Two Kiwis head the standings in the MX2 (250cc) class, with Waitakere-based Takaka rider Hamish Harwood in the No.1 position and Reporoa's Hadleigh Knight just six points behind in second, but Victorian rider Beaton won the final MX2 race of the day at Timaru and secured the No.3 spot on the podium, aptly demonstrating that he should not be counted out for the title win.

 

The racing is a little tighter in the MX2 class, with just 21 points to separate the top seven individuals, Mangakino's former national MX2 champion Kayne Lamont, Rangiora's former national 125cc champion Micah McGoldrick, Waitakere's former national 125cc champion Ethan Martens and Te Puke's Logan Blackburn all lurking with intent.

 

The 125cc class is always fierce and the man to watch here is probably Taupo's Wyatt Chase, currently third in the standings but perhaps only there because he struck bad luck at Timaru. He will now be playing 'catch-up' over the rest of the series.

 

Ngatea's Ben Broad and Karaka's Kurtis Lilly own the top two spots and, with talent to burn, they'll take some catching, while Feilding's Tony Cvitanovich, Wairoa's Reece Lister and Beachlands' rider Blake Gillard are also on the pace to claim a podium position for themselves.

 

The second half of the calendar takes riders to the Rotorua Motorcycle Club's track for round three on March 13, with the fourth and final round set for the Digger McEwen Motocross Park facility, on the outskirts of Taupo, on March 20.

 by Andy McGechan,

---------------------------------

The 2016 New Zealand Motocross Championships  -   FERRIS DOES IT TWO WEEKS IN A ROW

 

CAPTION: The MX1 class podium at Timaru (from left) Australian Todd Waters (third overall), Australian Dean Ferris (the day's winner) and Mount Maunganui's defending champion Cody Cooper (runner-up).

 

FEBRUARY 7, 2016: Australian Dean Ferris has done it again.

 

Fresh from winning the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville on debut there last weekend, the 25-year-old from Kyogle in New South Wales, has now made it two major Kiwi successes in a row after winning the opening round of four in this season's New Zealand Motocross Championships at Pleasant Point, near Timaru, on Sunday.

 

Just as was the case a week earlier at Woodville, the first time Ferris had even laid eyes on the course at Timaru was when he arrived at the venue for Sunday's championship opener.

 

And once again it didn't make a difference to the outcome, Ferris taking his Altherm JCR Yamaha YZ450F to a stunning hat-trick of wins and completely dominating the glamour MX1 class on Sunday.

 

Runner-up was defending national MX1 champion Cody Cooper, the Honda rider from Mount Maunganui finishing with a 2-3-2 score-card, and another Australian import, MC2 Suzuki Racing team rider Todd Waters, completed the podium with a 3-2-3 score-line.

 

This gives Ferris an 11-point buffer as the riders now prepare for round two at the Flipp's track at Himatangi, near Palmerston North, on February 28.

 

"This was a great track and prepped very well," said Ferris afterwards. "I really like ruts," he smiled.

 

"I had been having problems with my starts at Woodville and we worked on that during the week. I holeshot every race today.

 

"I put in a good couple of laps early on and, by the time Cooper had fought through the traffic, I was gone.

 

"There is a lot of work still to be done and we'll just keep testing and working hard ahead of the next round."

 

The MX2 (250cc) class was a savage affair, with little to separate Reporoa's Hadleigh Knight (Workshop Graphics Husqvarna) from now-Waitakere-based Takaka rider Hamish Harwood (MCL Racing KTM) at the top and a gaggle of very fast riders hot on their heels.

 

In the end, 18-year-old Australian visitor Jed Beaton (Valley Fresh Yamaha) won the final race of the day but Harwood finishing runner-up and Knight finishing seventh was enough to decide the class in Harwood's favour.

 

The MX2 podium wound up with Harwood on top, Knight second and Beaton third.

 

The 125cc class was almost a Ben Broad benefit, the 17-year-old KTM rider from Ngatea posting a 1-1-2 score-card to overshadow Karaka's Kurtis Lilly (Workshop Graphics Husqvarna) and Taupo's Wyatt Chase (Total Oil Yamaha).

 

After round two in the Manawatu, round three follows at the Rotorua Motorcycle Club's track on March 13. The championship trophies get handed out at the Taupo finale on March 20.

 

Leading championship standings after the first of four rounds of the New Zealand Motocross Championships near Timaru on Sunday:

 

MX1 class: 1. Dean Ferris (Australia, Yamaha); 2. Cody Cooper (Mount Maunganui, Honda); 3. Todd Waters (Australia, Suzuki); 4. Scott Columb (Queenstown, Kawasaki); 5. Hamish Harwood (Takaka, KTM).

 

MX2 class: 1. Hamish Harwood (Takaka, KTM); 2. Hadleigh Knight (Reporoa, Husqvarna); 3. Jed Beaton (Australia, Yamaha); 4. Kayne Lamont (Mangakino, Yamaha); 5. Micah McGoldrick (Rangiora, Honda).

 

125cc class: 1. Ben Broad (Ngatea, KTM); 2. Kurtis Lilly (Karaka, Husqvarna); 3. Wyatt Chase (Taupo, Yamaha); 4. Tony Cvitanovich (Feilding, KTM); 5. Reece Lister (Kotemaori, KTM).

 

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

------------------------------------

The 2016 Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville

 

AN AUSTRALIAN TAKES NZ GP TITLE TWO YEARS IN A ROW

 

CAPTION: Australian Dean Ferris (Yamaha), the main winner at Woodville at the weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

 

JANUARY 31, 2016: Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper has been denied for a second consecutive season.

 

He was hoping to join an exclusive club on Sunday -- intending to become a rare three-time winner of the iconic Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville -- but once again he was deprived by a trans-Tasman invader.

 

The two-time firmer Woodville champion was stopped last season by Australian Kirk Gibbs and this time around it was another Australian, New South Welshman Dean Ferris, who rose up to claim the main trophy at Woodville.

 

The 32-year-old Cooper, the reigning New Zealand MX1 motocross champion, lived up to his star billing when he again won the MX1 class at Woodville, but this 55th edition of the great event was another case of Cooper winning the battles but losing the war, with Ferris leading from start to finish in the gruelling five-lap Invitation Feature Race, becoming the 28th different main event winner at Woodville since the inaugural event in 1961.

 

"It is pretty special to win here. I had only ever heard of this event once before coming here and that was because of that crazy river race," said the 25-year-old Ferris, from Kyogle, in New South Wales.

 

"It's great to begin my build-up for the Australian nationals with a win like this."

 

Cooper won the MX1 class with a 1-2-2 score-card, finishing the day four points ahead of Ferris, while Otago 19-year-old Courtney Duncan stunned the testosterone-fuelled MX2 (250cc) class to snatch that class win with an outstanding 1-3-2 score-line and Feilding's Tony Cvitanovich did enough in finishing 4-4-3 to be crowned 125cc class champion at Woodville on Sunday.

 

Not only did 15-year-old Cvitanovich win the 125cc class, but he was also rewarded with the Roddy Shirriffs Memorial Trophy as the highest-placed senior 125cc class rider under the age of 22.

 

The winner of the spectacular river race class was Palmerston North's James Galpin, the 18-year-old engineer finishing only fourth in the first of Sunday's two river races, which was won by Taupo's Brad Groombridge, but he bounced back and weathered a series of attacks by Masterton's Allan Gannon to eventually win the second race and claim the overall win by just two points from Groombridge.

 

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan

===============

The 2016 Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville

GREATEST SHOW ON TURF TURNS 55

JANUARY 27, 2016: Fifty five years can be a lifetime in the sporting world.

This is particularly so in a young persons’ sport such as motocross, where the average rider’s career-span is often less than a half, or even a quarter, of that.

But this year that's exactly what New Zealand’s greatest show on turf, the Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville, will be celebrating when the gates drop for racing at the end of this week (January 30-31).

 

This enduring event is proud of its ‘wrinkles’ too, well-worn creases and scars in the dirt giving it added character and, as a once-a-year venue only, no particular rider has any special claim or unfair advantage over his or her rivals. It is a working farm for the other 363 days of the year.

 

Founder of the event is Manawatu Orion Motorcycle Club life member Tim Gibbes, who was a GP motocross racer in Europe in the 1960s.

 

It was from a fairy-tale beginning in the 1960s that the event has flourished and matured and, remarkably, it can list current, former and future world champions among its glittering list of alumni.

 

The Woodville honour roll over the years reads like a who’s who of leading New Zealand motocross talent and also features some of the best riders of the day from Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Sweden, England, Scotland, Wales, the United States and Australia.

 

The man favoured to win it this time around is a Kiwi international, Bay of Plenty's Cody Cooper, the reigning national MX1 champion who has been on something of a win streak at home this summer.

 

But he will be up against it with fellow Kiwi internationals Scott Columb, of Queenstown, Taupo's Brad Groombridge, Mount Maunganui's Rhys Carter, Takaka's Hamish Harwood and a host of overseas riders who will be expected to keep him honest.

 

British world championship rider Jake Nicholls and Australian pair Todd Waters and Dean Ferris will also be contenders.

 

Woodville now stands alone as the biggest and best motocross in New Zealand, attracting riders the length and breadth of the country as well as overseas, and it is perhaps second only in significance to the national championships.

 

In addition to racing for the senior elite, the Woodville motocross also includes races for minis (riders from as young as age 4), juniors, cross-country and enduro riders, veterans and clubman riders, as well as staging the splashy and spectacular ‘river race’ for the enduro and cross-country die-hards.

 

It is going to be a very busy weekend.

 

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan

-------------------------------

The 2016 Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville  SMALLER BIKES ALSO HAVE POWER TO BURN

CAPTION: Sanson's Max Hefferen, seen here in action at the King of the Mountain motocross in Taranaki on Sunday, hoping to be among the leading riders in the junior 15-16 years' 125cc class on Saturday and then on debut in the senior 125cc class on Sunday. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

JANUARY 25, 2016: The MX2 category has the potential to steal the thunder at this weekend's 55th annual Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville.

The engines on these motorcycles may be only 250cc, but don’t make the mistake of comparing them to your 1.8 litre family car – these motors pack enough punch to rip your arms straight out of their sockets.

And while many fans will focus on the action unfolding in the MX1 (450cc) class, where Mount Maunganui’s national MX1 champion Cody Cooper and visiting international stars Dean Ferris, Todd Waters and Jake Nicholls are predicted to hog the spotlight, it is in the smaller bike categories, the 250cc and 125cc classes, where the biggest boil-overs are likely to occur.

The senior MX2 class at Woodville will again be extremely hot this time around, with the likes of Mangakino’s Kayne Lamont, Hamilton's Josiah Natzke, Takaka's Hamish Harwood, Te Puke's Logan Blackburn, Taupo's Cohen Chase, Reporoa's Hadleigh Knight, Otago's Courtney Duncan and Tauranga's Aaron Wiltshier among the riders most likely to feature at the front.

The 125cc class is similarly blessed with extremely fast and insanely skilled young riders, with Ngatea's Ben Broad, Karaka's Kurtis Lilly, Taupo's Wyatt Chase, Howick's Liam Draper and Kotemaori's Reece Lister among those most fancied to win.

Draper and Lister are also frontrunners at national level in the parallel but quite different dirt bike codes of enduro and cross-country racing, so could be expected to cope well if the track cuts up or the weather changes for the worse.

The same could probably be said of Palmerston North's James Galpin, a rider perhaps more at home of a cross-country circuit than a motocross track, but he is an extremely versatile and gifted racer. Galpin is competing in the MX2 class this weekend.

It will be a particularly big weekend for local riders such as Sanson's Max Hefferen and Feilding's Tony Cvitanovich

Hefferen is hoping to be among the leading riders in the junior 15-16 years' 125cc class on Saturday and then on debut in the senior 125cc class on Sunday, while Cvitanovich will also race both days, in the 14-16 years' 250cc class on Saturday and the senior 125cc class on Sunday.

Woodville now stands alone as the biggest and best motocross in New Zealand, attracting riders the length and breadth of the country as well as overseas, and it is perhaps second only in significance to the national championships.

In addition to racing for the senior elite, the Woodville motocross also includes races for minis (riders from as young as age 4), juniors, cross-country and enduro riders, veterans and clubman riders, as well as staging the splashy and spectacular ‘river race’ for the enduro and cross-country die-hards.

It will probably be standing room only for spectators on the hillsides of this Woodville farm property.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

-----------------------------

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New Zealand MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP DATES AND VENUES ANNOUNCED

NOVEMBER 11, 2015: It's time to get out your calendars and scribble in a few dates and venues.

 

The schedule for the 2016 New Zealand Motocross Championships have been set in concrete, with an exciting new nationals venue in the Manawatu a feature of the calendar.

 

The four-round series will kick off near Timaru on February 7, with rounds to follow in the Manawatu (February 28) and Rotorua (March 13), with the final round in Taupo on March 20.

 

"We are thrilled to be able to finally get this sorted," said Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner Howard Lilly, from Karaka.

 

"We were on the verge of releasing the calendar months ago, but then we had one club withdraw from the series and that created a huge problem for us.

 

"We had to re-do the tender process and that took between six and eight weeks, not helped by the fact that I was overseas for some of that time.

 

"But we are now looking ahead to a brilliant season. We are thrilled with the four clubs and the venues they have provided."

 

He said that granting the new venue in the Manawatu, at the Flipp's Motorcycle Park near Himatangi, was a reward for the Manawatu-Orion Motorcycle Club after the splendid job they had done to host the opening round of the North Island Motocross Championships in August.

 

"This was part of the process I talked about when the North Island series was rekindled this year. We wanted to use the North Island series to test clubs out, to see if they could host a major event. The Manawatu club certainly did that."

 

He remarked that it probably should have come as no surprise that the Manawatu club would meet the criteria, seeing as it has been the host club of New Zealand's largest motocross, the NZGP at Woodville, every year since 1961.

 

"Rounds three and four of the nationals in Rotorua and Taupo are close to one another and just a week apart, so that should assist the South Island riders who are making the trip north," said Lilly.

 

Confirmed venues for the 2016 motocross nationals are:

 

Round 1: February 7, 2016, Christchurch Off Road Club; Backflips Track Timaru.

 

Round 2: February 28, 2016, Manawatu Orion Motorcycle Club; Flipp's Track, Himatangi.

 

Round 3: March 13, 2016, Rotorua Motorcycle Club; Rotorua Motocross Track.

 

Round 4: March 20, 2016, Taupo Motorcycle Club; Digger McEwen Motocross Park.

 

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan

---------------------------------

Ben TOWNLEY SET FOR 2016 SUZUKI WORLD MXGP ATTACK 
Nov 10th, 2015

Team Suzuki Press Office – November 10. 

Former MX2 World Champion, AMA 250SX East Coast Supercross champ and race winner in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Nationals and the Motocross of Nations, Ben Townley, will join Kevin Strijbos on the works RM-Z450 and in the Suzuki World MXGP team for 2016. 

The 30 year old from New Zealand recently came out of retirement to spectacular effect at the 2015 Motocross of Nations in France at the end of September and has stated his eagerness to strive for Grand Prix victory once more. “I retired two and a half years ago and had no intention of racing again but the desire to do it came back over the last six months and when this chance to ride for Suzuki and work with the people there came about I knew straight away it was the right opportunity to be world champion again,” he said. 

Townley first came to Europe and took part in Grand Prix as a teenager in 2001, entering the old 125cc category on an RM125. By 2002 he was already taking podium finishes and won the inaugural year of the FIM MX2 World Championship formula in 2004. He became the first rider in the modern history of the sport to own Grands Prix in both MX2 and MXGP (formerly MX1) classes in 2005. 

His ride to second position in the third moto at Ernee several months ago proved that the Kiwi still has the focus and skill set to run with some of the fastest riders in the world and his experience, maturity and dedication to his passion caught the eye of the factory team based in Lommel. The opportunity to ride the RM-Z450 for the first time was a great chance for Townley – who had kept close links with the sport thanks to a role tutoring factory riders for another brand in Japan and young New Zealand talents like EMX125 star Josiah Natzke – to resurrect his career. 

“Joining Suzuki is about many factors: the personnel, the team, the professionalism and of course the RM-Z450,” he said. “It is everything that I need to be competitive. Being with Suzuki ticks every box in my opinion and leaves no question marks. In my mind it is the right choice.” 

Townley is now in the midst of preparations for 2016 that will involve 19 Grands Prix and a long campaign from February to September. He should start serious work with the Suzuki World MXGP camp in the first days and weeks of the New Year. “It’s not totally confirmed yet and we are discussing timing now but I’ll be over in early January,” he commented. “The season starts much earlier now than when I was racing Grands Prix before so we’ll need to get ready. I began training for the Motocross of Nations and never really stopped. It is about getting down to the nuts and bolts of it for me now.” 

“We talked a lot with Ben and I was impressed by the way that he wanted to make a strong connection with the team and really open his mind when it comes to working together and this is why I believed we’d be a good option for helping him with his comeback,” commented Team Principal Sylvain Geboers. “Of course he has been away from Grand Prix for a couple of years and with his age some people say it is a ‘risk’ but I know how professional he can be and I think he still has some strong possibilities. Having Ben with the team is an interesting and strong combination.” 

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FIM MXGP & MX2 Motocross World Championships

2016 Calendar, updated 15 December

The Malaysian Motocross Grand Prix, originally scheduled on 13 March in Sepang has been cancelled.

A new event in Talavera de la Reina, Spain has been added on 29 May, the 2016 calendar has been updated as follows: Date

FMNR

Venue

Country

27 February *

QMMF

Losail

Qatar

06 March

FMSCT

Suphan Buri

Thailand

28 March **

KNMV

Valkenswaard

Netherlands

10 April

CAMOD

Neuquen

Argentina

17 April

FMM

Leon

Mexico

01 May

LaMSF

Kegums

Latvia

08 May

DMSB

Teutschenthal

Germany

15 May

FMI

Pietramurata

Italy

29 May

RFME

Talavera de la Reina

Spain

05 June

FFM

St-Jean d'Angély

France

19 June

ACU

Matterley Basin

Great Britain

26 June

FMI

Mantova

Italy

24 July

ACCR

Loket

Czech Republic

31 July

FMB

Lommel

Belgium

07 August

FMS

Frauenfeld-Gachnang

Switzerland

28 August

KNMV

Assen

Netherlands

03 September*

AMA

Charlotte Motor Speedway

USA

11 September

AMA

Glen Helen

USA

FIM Women's Motocross World Championship

Date FMNR Venue Country

27 February * QMMF Losail Qatar

28 March ** KNMV Valkenswaard Netherlands

08 May DMSB Teutschenthal Germany

05 June FFM St-Jean d'Angély France

26 June FMI Mantova Italy

07 August FMS Frauenfeld Switzerland

28 August KNMV Assen Netherlands

*: Saturday / **: Monday

Tba: to be announced

Tbc: to be confirmed

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The 2015 Mach 1 Yamaha NZ Vets & Women’s MX Championships

 

NATIONAL TITLES GO ON THE LINE IN TARANAKI

OCTOBER 13, 2015: Champions of the past, present and future come out to play in the Taranaki region this weekend.

 

The challenging grassland venue, on the farm property of Ryan and Katrina Corbett, 860 Wiremu Road, Opunake, will host the two-day event featuring an entry list that reads like a who's who and who-used-to-be-who of the sport.

 

Sponsored by Mach 1 Yamaha, the popular annual event features many riders who, despite their veteran status, still rate among the sport's elite, while the female side of the sport that shares the race programme is more still a hotbed for rising stars.

 

Several of the riders who are expected to shine among the women include Taihape’s Sarah Elwin and Eketahuna pair Letitia and Courtney Alabaster, all of them in hot form at recent events.

 

The 20-year-old Elwin won the New Zealand senior women’s crown in 2013 and she is determined to reclaim that title at Opunake.

 

It will also be looking out for top performances from riders such as Te Awamutu's Rachael Archer, Tauranga’s Julie Managh and Nelson sisters Tyla, Roma and Skye Edwards, while the bike community welcomes back to action Bay of Plenty rider Mary Wanhill, fit and ready to race again after fighting off cancer.

 

Taranaki 17-year-old Mikayla Rowe is uncertain if she will race at the weekend after recently suffering an injury, but, if the 2013 national junior women's champion does ride, she is certain to be a contender.

 

Meanwhile, her father, Mitch Rowe, is expected to shine in the veteran men's competition.

 

The former national 500cc motocross champion and now a multi-time national veterans' champion, Mitch Rowe will no doubt enjoy racing in front of a home crowd.

 

But, even if he produces some of his best form, he will have to be aware of hot performances coming from perennial frontrunners such as fellow Taranaki men Larry Blair, Tony Parker, Greg Ngeru and David Furze, Wanganui's Danny Willemsen, Blenheim's Moston Wadsworth, Tokoroa’s Tony Livingstone, Auckland’s Tony Cooksley and Whakatane’s Darren Capill, to name a few.

 

In addition, Winton’s Martin Axtens and Nelson’s Bryan Heaphy were class winners at this event last season and should not be counted out this weekend.

 

Three races are scheduled for each class on Saturday with two races in each class planned for Sunday, winding up with all-in feature races at the end of the day to determine the outright leading riders.

 

Racing kicks off at 10am both days and spectator entry is free.

 

Credit: Words by Andy McGechan,

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2015 Motocross of Nations in France

 

NEW ZEALAND RIDERS BACK WHERE THEY BELONG

 

CAPTION: Bay of Plenty's Ben Townley, the top rider for Team New Zealand at the weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

 

SEPTEMBER 28, 2015: New Zealand is back where it belongs, among the world's motocross elite.

 

From failing to qualify at the Motocross of Nations in Latvia last season to ranking No.8 in the world this time around at Ernee, in France ... it's an amazing comeback for the Kiwis at this big annual "Olympic Games of motocross".

 

"From not qualifying one season, to being inside the top 10 the next. I'm blown away," said Team New Zealand manager Howard Lilly after Sunday's final race at the steep and picturesque circuit near Rennes.

 

"I'm actually lost for words. It was a fantastic team effort with the riders receiving massive support from mechanics, supporters, sponsors ... everyone really."

 

Bay of Plenty's Ben Townley (MXGP class) was the leading individual, finishing 6th and 2nd in his two races, while Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper (open class) managed 20th and 30th. Unfortunately, the third member of the team, Mangakino's Kayne Lamont (MX2, 250cc class), was blighted with bad luck, suffering three separate mechanical issues with his bike and was unable to finish either of his races. He was credited only with 34th and 35th placings.

 

"With us finishing eighth in the world despite having two non finishes gives you some idea of how impressive and important Ben Townley's results were. He is still a world class rider, even though he retired from fulltime racing two years ago.

 

"We are very disappointed about what happened to Kayne Lamont and his results are no reflection on him at all. It's just that it was he who copped all the bad luck," said Lilly.

 

Meanwhile, host country France, also the defending champions, fought off a stiff challenge from the United States trio to send the masses of screaming French fans into a joyous riot.

 

Third best nation was Belgium, followed by Estonia, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Australia, the latter finishing just 15 points ahead of the unlucky New Zealanders.

 

Each rider raced twice and, with five of the six results to be counted towards the team total, Lamont's cracked frame, engine seizure and then re-occurring rear brake issues proved extremely costly.

 

Team New Zealand received generous support for this year's bid from Kiwi companies WIL Sport Management and Workshop Graphics, and also appreciated the fundraising undertaken by the Taupo Motorcycle Club with their Battle of the Clubs motocross event earlier this year adding to the campaign coffers.

 

The Motocross of Nations will be hosted by Italy next September.

 

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

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2015 Motocross of Nations in France  KIWI MOTOCROSS OF NATIONS CAMPAIGN STILL ON TRACK

SEPTEMBER 21, 2015: The Kiwis are battered but not bruised after a drama-filled scorcher at the 18th and final round of the Motocross World Championships at Glen Helen, near San Bernadino in Southern California, on Sunday.

 Neither of New Zealand's two entrants at the event lasted the day, but with temperatures soaring close to 40 degrees Celsius, that really came as no surprise.

 Arriving from New Zealand's winter, Bay of Plenty riders Cody Cooper and Ben Townley, put up a brave fight but, ultimately it was the track and racing conditions, and not the opposition, that beat the Kiwis back.

 Cooper finished Sunday's race day inside the medical truck after finishing 25th in the first of two MXGP races, while Townley finished 11th in that race but then withdrew after one lap of the second MXGP race, reluctantly walking back to the low-key Kiwi compound, in a quiet corner of the pits, to reflect on what might have been.

 Cooper and Townley were merely using the US MXGP as a final warm-up before they head to France to tackle the Motocross of Nations next weekend and so their abortive result at Glen Helen drew an understandably philosophical response from both riders.

 "I started to fade in the first race and just didn't feel right and I didn't start the next race but instead went off to get some medical advice," said Cooper, who had qualified 26th overall (out of 35 riders) the day before, when temperatures were at a marginally more bearable 38 degrees, the sort of heat he would possibly only have experienced in the hottest of Kiwi summers.

 "I was a lap behind the leaders, but I decided to carry and finish that first race anyway. I was really stuffed, but I was starting to think about next weekend and what we have to try to do in France. I couldn't go out in the next race at all," said Cooper as he reclined in the Asterisk medical truck with a saline fluid drip in his right arm. He needed two litres of saline fluid to put his body back in full functioning mode and was back to his happy-go-lucky self with about 30 minutes.

 "Actually, I feel better already," he said as he caught the sound of the second MXGP class race blasting around the steep, dry and unforgiving circuit. "... maybe I can go out and get the last few laps in," he laughed.

 Townley was similarly matter-of-fact about his GP effort.

 "I wasn't entirely happy at finishing 11th in race one, but I thought it wasn't too bad either, when you consider that I've only raced a couple of times this year. But then I over-jumped a jump in race two and it put me on the ground. I was a long way back and just didn't have any desire to carry on when I was that far behind.

 "I was in a good battle with (eventual world No.2) Gautier Paulin in the first race, but it cost me a lot of energy and I faded," he explained.

 New Zealand's Motocross of Nations team manager Howard Lilly brushed off suggestions that the MXoN campaign had taken a hit.

 "I wouldn't even call it a hiccup," he said.

 The temperatures here were not what anyone was expecting. The riders were brilliant at managing themselves and doing what was right with next weekend in France coming up. I was impressed with the speed they showed this weekend and our MXoN campaign is still tracking well."

 Cooper, Townley and Lilly, along with a large Kiwi support crew, fly out to Ernee, in north-western France, later this week and they will meet up with the third rider in the Kiwi squad, British-based Mangakino rider Kayne Lamont, ahead of next Saturday's MXoN qualification races.

 by Andy McGechan

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TOWNLEY ALWAYS A PROUD KIWI BATTLER . Team New Zealand MX des Nations 2015

SEPTEMBER 14, 2015: Bay of Plenty rider Ben Townley should feel right at home when he lines up to represent New Zealand at the annual Motocross of Nations in France at the end of this month.

 

The 30-year-old came out of retirement recently to become one of the three riders who will fly the silver fern flag at this "Olympic Games of motocross" at Ernee, in the north-west of France, on the weekend of September 26-27.

 

And despite listing his status now as semi retired, the former world, United States and New Zealand champion adds a great deal of experience and plenty of punch to the Kiwi campaign.

 

He has been New Zealand's most successful individual at the Motocross of Nations (MXoN) as the only Kiwi to celebrate a race win (two of them in fact) and, perhaps significantly, it was exactly 10 years ago, in 2005, that the MXoN was last held at the undulating Ernee circuit and Townley performed there with much credit as well.

 

Riding a KTM in the open class, Townley won one of the three finals races at Ernee in 2005, claiming victory in the combined open class/MX2 (250cc) class race, and then backing that up by finishing runner-up, behind American legend Ricky Carmichael, in the open class/MXGP leg. Team New Zealand finished fourth overall on that occasion.

 

The following year, when the MXoN was staged near Winchester, in southern England, Townley was on the smaller 250cc Kawasaki and had his work cut out against the 450cc open class and MXGP bikes, but it was better overall result for the team.

 

The team's MX2 (250cc) class rider in England, Townley managed 3-5 finishes in his two outings and, as a team, the Kiwi trio claimed a podium finish, third overall of the 20 qualifying nations.

 

Townley scored a race win again when the MXoN was staged in Denver, Colorado, in 2010, this time riding a 450cc Honda to win the open class/MX2 clash.

 

But it all went sour in Townley's next race when, while running in second place, he severely twisted his ankle and was forced to withdraw.

 

Unfortunately, as a team, the Kiwis ended up only eighth overall that year.

 

But, if Townley can be even half as good this time around as he was in France in 2005 or in the United States in 2010, then New Zealand's hopes will definitely be bright in less than two weeks' time.

 

His team-mates for the 2015 campaign in France are also vastly experienced MXoN riders, Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper and Mangakino's Kayne Lamont.

 

Unfortunately, neither Townley, nor Cooper or Lamont were available for the MXoN when it was staged in Latvia last year, where Team New Zealand failed to qualify among the top 20 countries and therefore slipped well down the world rankings.

 

But with generous support for this year's campaign coming from Kiwi companies WIL Sport Management and Workshop Graphics, and with massive fundraising undertaken by the Taupo Motorcycle Club with their Battle of the Clubs motocross event adding to the coffers, the Kiwi contingent leaves for France in a confident mood.

 

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

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2015 Motocross of Nations in France  - COOPER READY TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE

SEPTEMBER 8, 2015: The big annual Motocross of Nations is a big deal on the world motocross calendar and perhaps few Kiwis know this better than Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper.

 

The 31-year-old national MX1 champion has represented New Zealand at this "Olympic Games of Motocross" more times than most of the Kiwi elite and this year it will be MXoN No.7 for Cooper as he takes a couple of long-haul flights to join his two team-mates, Tauranga's Ben Townley and Mangakino's Kayne Lamont, for the 2015 edition of the great race at Ernee, in north-western France, on the weekend of September 26-27.

Cooper has been a fine ambassador for New Zealand over the years.

 Cooper was one-third of the Kiwi squad – along with Townley and Motueka's now-retired Josh Coppins – that finished on the podium, an astounding third overall at the MXoN at Matterley Basin, near Winchester, in England, in 2006.

 Cooper's individual race results in the open class in 2006 were 13th and 17th, but perhaps his most memorable individual MXoN performance was when the event was staged in the infield at Donington Park in England in 2008.

 That was the year that he won the open class qualifying race, finishing the 25-minute (11-lap) race ahead of such notables as Peuto Rico's Zach Osborne, Australia's Michael Byrne and Italy's Alex Salvini, with two-time former world champion Steve Ramon, of Belgium, rounding out the top five in that race. Team USA's open class rider, Tim Ferry, finished that qualifying race in ninth place, crossing the line 22 seconds behind Cooper, although, interestingly, it was his American team that eventually won the MXoN that year.

 In the final day races proper, Cooper finished fourth (open class/MX2) and 21st (open class/MXGP), with Team New Zealand that year finishing eighth overall.

 If Cooper can be even half as good as that this time around in France, then New Zealand's hopes will definitely take a lift.

 Townley and Lamont have also previously raced for New Zealand at the MXoN and so this year's line-up is one of the strongest to have been sent in recent years.

 Unfortunately, none of these riders were available for the MXoN when it was staged in Latvia last year, where Team New Zealand failed to qualify among the top 20 countries and therefore slipped well down the world rankings.

 But with generous support for this year's campaign coming from Kiwi companies WIL Sport Management and Workshop Graphics, and with massive fundraising undertaken by the Taupo Motorcycle Club with their Battle of the Clubs motocross event adding to the coffers, the Kiwi contingent leaves for France in a confident mood.

 Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan

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LAMONT HOPES IT'S THIRD TIME LUCKy

SEPTEMBER 2, 2015: Mangakino's Kayne Lamont is hoping it is third time lucky as he gears up for another Motocross of Nations campaign in Europe in just a few weeks' time.

 

The 22-year-old former New Zealand MX2 (250cc) champion and multi-time former national junior motocross champion joins his two team-mates – Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper and Tauranga's Ben Townley – in north-western France on the weekend of September 26-27, the trio there to represent New Zealand at the 69th annual Motocross of Nations (MXoN) at the hilly track at Ernee, just inland from the D-Day landing beaches of World War Two.

 

This year will be the third time that Lamont has represented his country at the MXoN – often referred to as the "Olympic Games of motocross" –  and he is anticipating that his previous experiences will stand him in good stead this time around.

 

"I'm proud and thrilled to be selected again for the Motocross Nations team," said Lamont, who raced for the national squad in Belgium in 2012 and again in Germany in 2013.

 

"I thought perhaps my recent wrist injury would have put the selectors off, but I suppose I've shown in the past few weeks that I'm almost back to 100 percent again now."

 

Lamont is current based in the United Kingdom where he is racing selected national-level meetings in preparation for the MXoN weekend.

 

The New Zealand team, co-managed this time around by Karaka's Howard Lilly and Palmerston North's Neil Ritchie, has as good a chance as any of winning, or at least perhaps repeating the Kiwi successes achieved at this great event in 1998, 2001 and 2006, the three occasions when the men from New Zealand placed third on the podium.

 

Cooper and Townley have also previously raced for New Zealand at the MXoN and so this year's line-up is one of the strongest to have been sent in recent years.

 

Unfortunately, none of these riders were available for the MXoN when it was staged in Latvia last year, where Team New Zealand failed to qualify among the top 20 countries and therefore slipped well down the world rankings.

 

But, with generous support for this year's campaign coming from Kiwi companies WIL Sport Management and Workshop Graphics, and with massive fundraising undertaken by the Taupo Motorcycle Club with their Battle of the Clubs motocross event adding to the coffers, the Kiwi contingent leaves for France in a confident mood.

 

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

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2015 Motocross of Nations in France  GENEROUS SPONSORS MAKE KIWI CAMPAIGN POSSIBLE

 

CAPTION: Auckland philanthropist couple Phil and Cheryl London, being interviewed recently by the Sky Sport television company.

AUGUST 27, 2015: New Zealand could be among the fancied teams at the Motocross of Nations in France next month and it's all thanks to generous support from New Zealand benefactors.

 The three-man squad of riders – Bay of Plenty trio Cody Cooper, Ben Townley and Kayne Lamont – head to the north-west of France for this 69th big annual "Olympic Games of motocross" on September 26-27 safe in the knowledge that they have nothing more to worry about than twisting their throttles.

 With massive backing from Aucklanders Phil and Cheryl London, of WIL Sport Management, and Darryl Blom, of Workshop Graphics, and with team co-managers Howard Lilly and Neil Ritchie to take care of the logistics, the Kiwi riders can fully concentrate on the business of racing at the Motocross of Nations (MXoN).

 On many occasions in the past, New Zealand's MXoN team has featured near the forefront at this most auspicious of annual events, with a Kiwi trio on the podium on three separate occasions – in England in 1998, in Belgium in 2001 in England again in 2006.

 With backing from WIL Sport Management and Workshop Graphics and work behind the scenes from the sport's governing body here, Motorcycling New Zealand, it is hoped Team NZ can again achieve well at this ultimate level of the sport.

 WIL Sport Management assists amateur and professional athletes to succeed, primarily in minority sports, at a local, national and even international level.

 WIL Sport sources sponsorship where necessary and provides financial, promotional, mentoring and other services that allow the athlete to focus on training and winning.

 Blom's Workshop Graphics company is similarly proactive.

 Workshop Graphics is an Auckland-based graphics design and print company, specialising in creating graphics kits for motocross bikes, and it has become a leading supplier for dirt bike graphics to shops, teams and individuals.

 Workshop Graphics strives to constantly deliver brilliant designs, faster turnarounds and works to ensure customers receive the best product, designs and service.

 "I am thrilled to be able to support such a massive undertaking as the MXoN," said Workshop Graphics owner Blom.

 "I am very proud and excited to be a part of it."

 The London couple's company, WIL Sport, is already well renowned for giving its support to Kiwi athletes overseas and is currently sponsoring Orewa's Avalon Biddle, who is competing in World Superbike Championships' European Junior Cup – and she is leading European Women’s Championship section of that.

 WIL Sport also supports Christchurch's Alastair Hoogenboezem in his ride for the Agro On Wil Sport Stock 600 team in World Superbike Championships; they support Taupo's Roman Rajek to race the British Superbike Championships next month; they will be helping Connor London in his Suzuki 600 Supersport campaign in the upcoming New Zealand Suzuki Series and superbike nationals; they support British rider Josh Harland until the end of his season in the European Junior Cup, along with Spain's Augusto Fernandez, Britain's Kyle Smith and Italy's Kevin Manfredi.

 WIL Sport assists Mangakino's Lamont with his motocross racing in the United Kingdom and help west Auckland's Toailoa Isara, who is about to start his college career of NFL in Los Angeles, along with supporting 15-year-old Green Bay High School martial artist Ben Spears in training in Thailand for the Muaythai World Champs in two weeks.

 WIL Sport is extending its WIL Sport JETS Sporting Scholarship programme with Green Bay High school through until 2017 and continues to sponsor the championship-winning Western Magpies Women’s Softball team.

 This is a truly remarkable list of promising sports people and WIL Sport's support now for the New Zealand MXoN team, alongside the assistance offered by Workshop Graphics and Motorcycling New Zealand, caps it all off and sets up the squad for reasonable crack at the MXoN next month.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan

Editor