HONDA RIDERS DOMINATE AT WAIKATO CHAMPS

HONDA TEAM RIDERS DOMINATE AT WAIKATO CHAMPS

Micah McGoldrick had an impressive ride on the borrowed Honda Racing Team CRF450. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

He may not have led at the start of the first race, but he was in front at the end and that’s what counts.

Once he got wound up, Honda Racing Team rider Cody Cooper was simply untouchable at the weekend’s annual Waikato Motocross Championships, on the outskirts of Te Kuiti.

After fighting through traffic to win the first race, he snatched the lead quickly in each of the remaining three races and then looked comfortable as he led a Honda 1-2-3 to the top of the MX1 class podium.

Cooper comfortably won all four races in this premier class, crossing the line 3.5 seconds ahead of Honda team-mate Micah McGoldrick in race one; 10.5 seconds ahead of Taupo’s Cohen Chase (KTM SXF450) in race two; 17.1 seconds ahead of McGoldrick in race three and then 5.6 seconds ahead of Honda team-mate John Phillips in the final outing of the day.

“I don’t like being behind other riders and getting dirty at the start of races. It makes the clean-up at the end of the day to be such a chore,” laughed Cooper. “But it was good for my intensity training to be behind the bunch and have to work past the other riders.

“It was a peg draw for the starting positions and I got the No.21 pick for the gate, which wasn’t so good because the track was quite muddy at the start of the day. I didn’t get a good start in the first race, but I was okay after that.

“I am still carrying a little bit of an injury, so I wasn’t pushing hard the whole time.

“I was trying to keep my feet up and on the foot-pegs, but that’s not always possible here because the ruts get to be so deep.”

It probably came as no surprise that 34-year-old national MX1 champion Cooper would dominate the MX1 class, but what did come as a pleasant surprise was the performance of young team-mate McGoldrick.

Tauranga-based former Rangiora racer McGoldrick usually races in the MX2 (250cc) class, but, as he awaited the arrival of his new Honda CRF250F, he was offered the chance to take one of the team’s 450cc bikes and instead enter the MX1 class.

He was impressive – the 22-year-old twice finishing runner-up to “the master”, Mount Maunganui’s Cooper, and crossing the finish line in sixth and third positions in the remaining races, good enough for him to claim the No.2 spot for the day.

Third overall in the class was Rotorua’s Phillips (Honda Racing Team CRF450), who edged out Chase to claim the third step on the podium.

“I was a little bit surprised at how well I rode on the 450, but not really, if you know what I mean,” said McGoldrick. “I’ve been putting in a lot of work lately, so I knew it was possible.

“I crashed at the start of the second race and had to regroup a bit. That little hiccup cost me a few points.”

The next major event for these riders is the annual Auckland Motocross Championships at Tuakau in two weeks’ time (November 18-19).

Words and photo by Andy McGechan

Big Weekend for Moto

Both islands play host to some big moto events this weekend with the Waikato Champs and the NZ Mini Nationals getting their roost on in the next two days!

The Waikato Champs, hosted by the North King Country Motorcycle Club will be held at their permanent facility at 376 Mangarino Road, Te Kuiti, between Otorohanga and Te Kuiti. A full range of classes available and some re-working of the track means it’s going to be another great Waikato Champs.

The digger has been out ensuring the track with be mint for this weekend.

For the mini riders, the New Zealand Mini Motocross champs are taking place in Christchurch – at 1228 Weedons Ross Road, West Milton – so if you haven’t already started heading down, you’d better book that flight now. With over 130 confirmed entries and more family trailers than you can park in a row, it is set to be a great weekend of Mini’s ripping up some southern dirt.

If you are at a loss this weekend for things to do, get along and support your local racers as they take on some of NZ’s best moto racers.

To find out what’s on in your neck of the woods, make sure to check out our new events website: motoevents.nz. With more events listings than you can wheelie over, there’s something for everyone, so check it out!

Moto Minis Head to Christchurch

FUTURE OF NEW ZEALAND MOTOCROSS GOES ON SHOW

 

Rotorua’s Delton Manson, expected to be among the frontrunners in the 7-8 years’ 65cc class this weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

The future of Kiwi motocross goes on show near Christchurch this weekend. 

Riders aged between four and 11 – and riding bikes with engine capacities anywhere between 50cc and 112cc – head into battle when the Christchurch Off-Road Motorcycle Club hosts the two-day New Zealand Mini Motocross Championships at Moore Park, 1228 Weedons Ross Road, West Melton, this Saturday and Sunday (November 4-5). 

The championships are sponsored this season by KTM New Zealand, Tracktion.co.nz and BCC (Baird’s Collision Centre).

The premier grade, the 9-11 years’ 65cc class, will possibly feature last year’s 7-8 years’ 65cc class champion Kobe Thoms, the young Christchurch rider who will no doubt thrive again this season too, particularly on his home turf.

Others who have recently impressed in this grade, finishing top three at Taupo’s MX Fest at Labour Weekend, include Taupo’s Reid Gordan, Hawera’s Ajay Jordan and Whanganui’s Chase Williamson. Waitara’s Kurtis Gooch, Tokoroa’s Iestyn Foster and Hamilton’s Seth Westgate are among others who could also be expected to shine in this class this weekend.

Riders to watch for in the 7-8 years’ 65cc class would have to include the boys who finished in the top three at the recent MX Fest in Taupo – Rotorua’s Delton Manson, Napier’s Boston Scott and Taupo’s Declan Connors, although they will be tested by Christchurch rider Kase Thoms, who has stepped up a grade after winning the 6-8 years’ 50cc class at the nationals last season.

Otorohanga’s Luke Phillips must also fancy his chances of pinching the 7-8 years’ 65cc class trophy, along with Palmerston North’s Ayden Taylor.

Current leading senior grade riders such as international star Josiah Natzke, from Mount Maunganui, or Ngatea’s Ben Broad, Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis, Feilding’s Tony Cvitanovich, Cambridge’s Ashton Grey, Hastings rider Jye Deacon, Cambridge’s Trent Collins and Te Puke’s Jordan Milsom, to name just a few, can also trace their beginnings to the mini motocross ranks.

Natzke  is a fine example of a Kiwi mini motocross champion who progressed from the mini ranks to win junior and then senior national titles. Natzke was a dominant force in the mini ranks in 2009 and now, eight years later, he has a contract to race internationally at Grand Prix level.

International pathways can certainly begin at the mini nationals.

Australia’s Hunter Lawrence won the premier 9-11 years’ 65cc class at the New Zealand Mini Motocross Championships near Huntly in 2010 and, just seven years later, he went on to become the stand-out MX2 (250cc) class performer at the 2017 Motocross of Nations in the United Kingdom last month.

 Words and photo by Andy McGechan

Keegan Retains ATV title

Stratford’s Camo Keegan (Honda), has another national quad bike title to his credit after the weekend. Words and Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

STRATFORD’S KEEGAN SUCCESSFUL IN TITLE DEFENCE

Camo Keegan again had a massive fight on his hands, but the Honda rider was eventually able to break free of the competition and successfully defend his national All Terrain Vehicle (ATV, quad bike) premier grade title this season.

It’s never easy wrestling an ATV around a gnarly motocross track, particularly one as challenging as the Taranaki Motorcycle Club’s steep Barrett Road facility, on the outskirts of New Plymouth, but the 28-year-old Keegan again proved up to the task. 

It was the same venue used for the ATV nationals in 2015 when Keegan’s younger brother Scott Keegan clinched the main title.

The sibling rivalry simmered again this year, although it was Amberley’s 2014 champion Ian Fitch who perhaps came closest to knocking Camo Keegan off his perch at the weekend.

The two Keegan boys shared all the race wins – Camo winning six of the seven races over the Saturday and Sunday of Labour Weekend and Scott the remaining race – while consistency gave Fitch an outside chance of taking the crown.

Unfortunately for Scott Keegan he crashed too many times on day one and scored no points in three of the premier grade races.

Fitch finished 4-2-3-2-3-2-3 in the seven premier grade races and was forced to accept the runner-up spot overall, eventually trailing Camo Keegan by 26 points.

Christchurch’s Callum Macrae was the best of the rest, his top results were a third placing in the first race of the weekend and he then scored a fourth placing on four other occasions, but this was enough for him to clinch the third podium spot for the championship.

 

Leading final standings in the 2017 New Zealand ATV Championships:

Premier grade: 1. Camo Keegan (Stratford) 170 points; 2. Ian Ffitch (Amberley) 144; 3. Callum Macrae (Christchurch) 121. 

450cc Production class: 1. Corey Whitelock 164 points; 2. Shane Robinson (Otorohanga) 136; 3. Taylor Graham (Christchurch) 134.

250cc Production class: 1. George Doig (Christchurch) 175 points; 2. Jack White (Nelson) 146; 3. Tyler Campbell (Patea) 131.

Veterans: 1. Greg Graham (Christchurch) 175 points; 2. Wade Taylor (Napier) 150; 3. Gary Doig (Christchurch) 144.

QUAD CONTENDERS HEAD TO TARANAKI

Taranaki Quad Rider, Corey Whitelock, is sure to be a title contender this season. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

Can anyone break the Keegan family stranglehold?

That’s the question that many will ask when riders line up to contest the 2017 New Zealand ATV (all terrain vehicle) Motocross Championships in Taranaki this coming Labour Weekend, particularly with the event being staged on what would be considered “home turf” for sibling rivals Scott and Camo Keegan.

The racing will be held at the Taranaki Motorcycle Club’s steep Barrett Road facility on the outskirts of New Plymouth, the same venue used in 2015 when Stratford’s Scott Keegan clinched the main title, winning the premier grade ahead of elder brother Camo Keegan.

Roles were reversed when the ATV nationals were held at Amberley, north of Christchurch, last year, with Camo on that occasion taking the title.

The national ATV champion in 2014, Amberley’s Ian Ffitch has always been a thorn in the side of the Keegan siblings and he is likely to again be among the favourites to tip the Taranaki pair off their perch, although others such as New Plymouth brothers Cory and Devan Whitelock and Christchurch riders Jeff McIntyre, Craig Cox and Callum MacRae will also no doubt fancy their chances of winning.

Kaiwaka’s Cullen Curtis will be favoured to rule in the 450cc production class, while Christchurch’s Sam George, New Plymouth’s Cory Whitelock and Christchurch’s Taylor Graham should be in strike range.

 Other riders expected to shine include Christchurch’s Greg Graham, Napier’s Wade Taylor and Christchurch’s Gary Doig, while Christchurch’s Abby Holliday, Stratford’s Nicola Reid and Otorohanga’s Amy Corston will be among those battling for the women’s title. 

Other class winners last year included Amberley’s Angus Parish (250cc production class); Christchurch’s Bailey Graham (125cc production class); Amberley’s Caitlyn Parish (mini quad kids grade); New Plymouth’s Luke Etheridge (clubmans) and Stratford’s Zakiah Corrigan (junior clubman) and they will each be determined to win again this coming weekend.

Motorcycling New Zealand ATV commissioner Jono Keegan said the sport was growing steadily and entries this year should reflect that.

“The support class is very strong this year,” he said. “There is plenty of talent coming through and they will reach the top if they simply stick at it and keep working hard.

“The track on Barrett Road is an exciting venue and it’s great for spectators. It’s one of the best tracks in New Zealand for the viewing public. From the top of the hill, they can see almost all of the track.”