Cambridge take out 2017 Battle of the Clubs MX

The winning Cambridge Motorcycle Club team (from left) Reef Wheki, Cody Cooper, Seton Head, Dwayne Rameka, Trent Collins, Brodie Connolly and team manager Hayden Donald. 

IT WAS ONE BIG DAY TO HELP CREATE ANOTHER ONE

It was a case of one big day working for the benefit of another when bikes blasted out of the start gate at the eighth annual Battle of the Clubs motocross in Taupo on Saturday.

The weekend’s event was a fundraiser to assist in sending a New Zealand team to the big annual Motocross of Nations – widely regarded as “the Olympic Games of Motocross” – in England this October.

The three-rider Team New Zealand squad will be named within the next month and, regardless of which riders are finally chosen, Saturday’s event in Taupo was crucial in making that bid possible. More than $14,500 was raised from Saturday’s racing and also from the sale of raffle tickets.

The format used for racing at the Battle of the Clubs (BOTC) motocross was similar to what Team New Zealand can expect as they line up in England against three-rider teams from all around the world at the Motocross of Nations (MXoN), although this domestic equivalent saw riders line up under club banners, rather than national flags.

The Cambridge Motorcycle Club won the BOTC for the first time last season and were perhaps the favourites again this time around, with three national champions among its six-rider junior/senior squad.

Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper led the charge for Cambridge and called upon his eight years of MXoN experience to call upon as well as his five national MX1 title wins to easily dominate both the combined MX1/Veterans and MX1/MX2 races.

It was perhaps a foregone conclusion that he would overwhelm his MX1 bike rivals and also leave the MX2 and veteran riders choking in his wake.

But, as with the MXoN, the BOTC is all about having a strong team throughout the various classes and, thankfully for Cambridge, Cooper was brilliantly supported by Trent Collins (MX2), Dwayne Rameka (veterans), Reef Wheki (junior 250), Seton Head (junior 125) and Brodie Connolly (junior 85).

Runners-up were the six riders representing the Nelson Motorcycle Club, with the Manawatu Orion Motorcycle Club’s squad claiming the third podium spot.

The Pukekohe Motorcycle Club and South Waikato Motorcycle Club rounded out the top five.

“It’s just fantastic for us to be able to win this for two years in a row,” said Cambridge Motorcycle Club president and team manager Hayden Donald.

“I knew we had a good team and they all rode remarkably well.

“It was the same team from last year, except for veteran rider Dwayne (Rameka) who came in to replace Michael Cotter, who was unavailable. We are one of the smallest clubs in New Zealand, with approximately 200 members, but we are growing all the time.”

Meanwhile, the Taranaki Motorcycle Club won the separate but parallel minis Battle of the Clubs, with Kurtis Gooch (70-125 trail bike), James Kilpatrick (65cc), Lucas Robinson (50cc) and Jaylin Mullen (50cc trail bike) taking the inaugural mini clubs’ trophy ahead of four-rider teams from the Bay of Plenty and Taupo motorcycle clubs.

 

Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com