New Zealand Motocross Nationals Third Round Cancelled

We’ve been gearing up and really excited about this year’s NZMX Championship here at DRD HQ. With a longterm test bike courtesy of Suzuki NZ – ZED – and Editor Chris Power getting back into the swing of competition, MX has been in the air all season.

Sadly a spanner has been thrown in the works courtesy of ol’ Mother Nature, with torrential rain and more bad weather on the way hitting the Hawkes Bay, and with it, the site that was to host round 3 of the Championship on Sunday, March 11.

Here’s the full release from the governing body of Moto in NZ, Motorcycling NZ.

NZMX CHAMPIONSHIP – Round 3:

MNZ in consultation with the Hawke’s Bay Motorcycle Club, wishes to advise that due to road closures and flooding in the area with more heavy rain expected in the next 24 – 48 hours, we have had to cancel Round 3 of the NZ Motocross Championship which is to be held this Sunday.

We have taken all considerations into account and this hasn’t been an easy decision to make but feel it is in the best interest of riders, sponsors and the Hawkes Bay Motorcycle Club.

NZMX UPDATE:
Whilst racing has been cancelled for this Sunday we are currently working on an alternative date and will advise within the next 48 hours

 

So that’s a bummer! Spread the news so none of your mates make the trip to the Hawke’s Bay to find a water mess instead of the killer moto action we were looking forward to.

The fourth and final round of the NZMX Championship is scheduled for March 24 at Digger McEwen Motocross Park in Taupo. Cross those fingers for good conditions so we can send the 2018 MX season out with a bang!

BATTLES SET TO CONTINUE IN HAWKE’S BAY

Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis (Yamaha), is locked in a tussle for 125cc honours with Australian visitor Mason Semmens. Photo by Andy McGechan

Intense fighting is predicted for the third round of four in this season’s New Zealand Motocross Championships at a relatively new venue at Fernhill, near Hastings, this Sunday (March 11). 

The circuit at Mere Road hosted the junior nationals two years ago, but it has never before hosted the seniors, which means very few riders will be able to claim the advantage of track knowledge and this should ensure some close and exciting racing this weekend.

Hamilton’s Kayne Lamont, West Auckland-based former Takaka rider Hamish Harwood and Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis maintained their respective class leads at round two of the series near Rotorua two weeks ago, but not without a battle or two and they can’t afford to rest on their laurels at Hastings.

Former national MX2 champion Lamont (Yamaha) currently holds a nine-point advantage over Australian Kirk Gibbs (KTM) in the premier MX1 class; Harwood (KTM) has a massive 28-point lead over Taupo’s Brad Groombridge (Suzuki) in the MX2 (250cc) class and Purvis is 12 points ahead of Australian Mason Semmens (KTM) in the 125cc class.

Defending MX2 champion Harwood has been the most dominant of the leading riders and it appears there is nothing anyone can do to slow the progress of the 22-year-old from West Auckland, who has been devastating at both rounds so far.

Just as he had at round one of the series near New Plymouth three weeks earlier, Harwood again dominated the MX2 class at Rotorua, his hat-trick of wins perhaps just “business as usual” now for the defending champion.

With his six wins from six starts in the MX2 class thus far, Harwood looks well on track to make it three national MX2 titles in a row this season.

His team-mate Gibbs also ended his day standing on the podium top step.

Gibbs won the MX1 class at Rotorua, his 1-3-1 score-card over the three races meant he had edged six points closer to series leader Lamont and, with two rounds (and six races) remaining, he’s perhaps well placed to make good his title threat.

Defending national MX1 champion Cody Cooper (Honda), from Mount Maunganui, was second best in the MX1 class at Rotorua after finishing 2-1-4 in the three races and he slips back from second equal (level with Gibbs) after round one to now be ranked third.

Another rider visiting from Australia, 16-year-old Semmens, fought doggedly in the third championship category, the 125cc class, but he was beaten to the chequered flag each time by Purvis.

Rotorua’s Joshua Bourke-Palmer (Yamaha) improved from fourth to third overall in the 125cc class standings after another solid performance at Rotorua, although he is a massive 38 points adrift of Semmens. Bourke-Palmer posted a 5-4-6 score-card at Rotorua.

Wairoa’s Tommy Watts (Husqvarna) finished the day third overall at Rotorua, claiming third place in each of the three races, and this moved him up from an undeserved 10th overall after round one to now be ranked fourth overall in the standings. 

Racing in Hawke’s Bay this weekend, and at the final round in Taupo, will also feature the Under-19’s Cup support class.

For this new competition, riders must be aged between 15 and 19 and racing either a 125cc two-stroke bike or an 250cc four-stroke bike.

This development class is intended to provide an opportunity for the younger riders to experience racing in the senior championships and these riders may also still enter the MX2 and 125cc championship classes.

The nationals wrap up with the fourth and final round at Taupo on Saturday, March 24.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan

KTM Take Double Victory in MXGP of Argentina

Red Bull KTM put on a sensational show in Argentina taking double victory

The first round of nineteen in ‘MXGP’ took place in cloudy and cool conditions for the Grand Prix of Patagonia-Argentina and at the end of the summer. Tony Cairoli and Pauls Jonass dominated Saturday proceedings for their first Pole Positions of the season.

The MXGP contest on Sunday couldn’t have been more gripping. Cairoli sprinted clear with the opening moto holeshot to lead almost the entire race until Herlings closed the gap and applied immense pressure in what was a grandstand finale.

Cairoli managed to secure his first-ever chequered flag in Argentina by just one second at the line. The second moto was almost the same. The Sicilian set the pace and Herlings had to battle for fourth and third positions until arriving to second place with less than ten minutes remaining and a nine-second deficit to his teammate. The Dutchman worked hard to close the gap – his rhythm and speed through the waves section making the difference – while several small mistakes by Cairoli shrunk the distance further.

The dispute heated-up on the final lap and when Herlings made his move it stuck and he toasted his seventh career GP victory with the KTM 450 SX-F. The duo shared the points but Herlings walked the top step courtesy of his second moto spoils.

“It was a good day, Herlings said. I made a charge in the first moto but couldn’t make the pass; Tony was riding really well and deserved to win. In the second race I got pushed wide at the start again and had some battles going on for fifth, fourth and third. I knew there was only ten minutes left in the moto but I worked on the gap and was really glad to make it happen. I’m blessed to have won the first GP of the year and the hard work of the winter is showing. This is only the first race of nineteen and there will be a lot of good competition ahead. I feel good on the bike, even better than the end of last year. I want to thank the team because they are always supporting me through thick-and-thin.”

“We almost made it with the perfect weekend,Cairoli noted of his close battle with his teammate. In the second moto – I had a good start and made a good lead – but ran into some lappers and changed some lines. I made some mistakes and almost went out of the berm in some corners. I hit some kickers and had to slow down a little bit but if you do that then the seconds quickly go away. Jeffrey came closer and was stronger in the end. I was making mistakes and was tired and he took his chance to go around me: it was a good move. It is great for KTM to be 1-2 in both motos and I’m looking forward to continuing this championship. It will be an interesting season.”

Glenn Coldenhoff picked up a small injury to his left leg after a tumble in Saturday’s qualification heat race but the Dutchman, struggling for peak race fitness after his recent hand injury, was able to race to a 10-11 for 10th overall.

In the MX2 class Pauls Jonass raced with the No.1 plate to denote his position as reigning champion; the first time the number has been seen in Grand Prix since 2015. The Latvian was brilliant in Argentina, taking the fastest times in all practice sessions, Pole Position and both moto wins on the new KTM 250 SX-F.

“We did the pre-season races and I knew I had the speed and the fitness because I had worked hard in the winter time, he said. I came into this race confident…but I did not expect to win every single session when we went on the track. It is a boost for us but we won’t let it get to our heads too much because there is still a long way to go. The new bike worked so well and we can see all that testing and work in the off-season paid off. I didn’t get any holeshots today so we still have something we can improve on!”

Teammate Jorge Prado suffered a crash through the waves section on Saturday and competed with a painful right elbow. The Spaniard hit the dirt again early in the first moto but recovered to 16th place. Later in the day he managed 7th for 11th overall.

The fledgling world championship standings are a carbon copy of the overall Grand Prix result with eighteen rounds and thirty-six motos still to run.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will have just one week to recover from the lengthy trip back to Europe before the series lands at the Eurocircuit in Valkenswaard, just south of Eindhoven, for the Grand Prix of Europe on March 18th.

Results MXGP Argentina 2018

1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), KTM (2-1)
2. Tony Cairoli (ITA), KTM (1-2)
3. Clement Desalle (BEL), Kawasaki (3-3)
4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL), Yamaha (5-4)
5. Romain Febvre (FRA), Yamaha (4-5)

Results MX2 Argentina 2018
1. Pauls Jonass (LAT), KTM (1-1)
2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN), Husqvarna (3-2)
3. Hunter Lawrence (AUS), Honda (2-6)
4. Ben Watson (GBR), Yamaha (4-4)
5. Jed Beaton (AUS), Kawasaki (7-8)
Other KTM
11. Jorge Prado (SPA), KTM (16-7)

HUSQVARNA AND ROCKSTAR PARTNERSHIP ROCKS ON

HUSQVARNA MOTORCYCLES’ COLLABORATION WITH ROCKSTAR ENERGY EXTENDS FOR AN ADDITIONAL TWO YEARS

Husqvarna Motorcycles have announced the extension of their strategic global partnership with Rockstar Energy Drink, which sees the successful collaboration extended by an additional two years. That means that Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing riders will set out to achieve continued success in all major offroad disciplines worldwide through 2018 and 2019.

With the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team enjoying increasing success, the extension of the agreement with Rockstar Energy comes at a time that team riders Jason Anderson and Zach Osborne respectively lead the 450SX and 250SX East Region categories of the AMA Supercross Championship. In addition, 2018 has also seen Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing riders enjoy a wealth of success in indoor enduro, extreme enduro, rally, motocross and supercross events.

Entering into this long term, worldwide partnership with Rockstar Energy Drink in December 2015, Husqvarna Motorcycles started an important and successful chapter in their racing history. Earning a total of four FIM World Championship titles and three AMA titles, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team has established Husqvarna Motorcycles as a leading manufacturer within the global motocross and offroad motorcycle competition sector.

To celebrate their wealthy collaboration with Rockstar Energy, Husqvarna Motorcycles were proud to introduce their very first FC 450 ROCKSTAR EDITION motorcycle, launched at the end of 2017. With Jason Anderson having to date raced his FC 450 ROCKSTAR EDITION machine to three victories in the AMA Supercross series, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider currently holds the championship points lead as the series nears the halfway point.

Looking forward to the thrilling season ahead, Husqvarna Motorcycles are confident that the extension of their partnership with Rockstar Energy Drink will help the brand continue to achieve success at the highest levels of two-wheeled worldwide motorsport.

 

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Zed – Project MX Nationals – Chapter 4

Follow Chris and the DRD crew as they battle through a New Zealand Motocross Nationals season on board the Suzuki New Zealand 2018 RM-Z450 project bike…affectionately named – ZED. 

Chapter 4 sees Chris head to Round 2 of the NZ Motocross Nationals, just out of Rotorua and struggle to slot himself inside the top 20. Keep an eye out for more films throughout the season. 

 Shot entirely on iPhone and edited in iMovie. 

Special thanks to Suzuki New Zealand for the loan of the bike for this seasons racing – Workshop Graphics supplied some sweet decals, Darbi Accessories gave up some much needed Acerbis hand guards and Dunlop tyres provided the GeoMax Hoops that lasted two-rounds of racing.