Taylar Rampton was the winner of the inaugural Women’s Cup on Sunday.

It became a special season indeed for Opunake’s Taylar Rampton when she won the inaugural Women’s Cup motocross trophy at the weekend.

The two-round women’s competition was being held in conjunction with the first two rounds of this year’s New Zealand Motocross Championships and the second round of that was staged on the outskirts of Rotorua on Sunday.

Rampton’s trophy win on Sunday added to the 2017 New Zealand senior women’s motocross championship title she won in Eltham for the first time in November.

Rampton finished 3-2-1 in her three Women’s Cup outings at Rotorua on Sunday and that, coupled with her 1-1-3 results from round one of the Women’s Cup in Taranaki three weeks earlier, was enough for her to take the trophy by nine points from an unlucky Letitia Alabaster.

Rotorua’s Alabaster had led the deciding final race of the series before succumbing to pressure from Rampton, losing her position at the front and then crashing soon afterwards, taking the pressure off Rampton, who simply cruised to the chequered flag and the top trophy.

Alabaster held on to the No.2 spot overall for the series, while Motueka’s Roma Edwards won the battle with Te Kuiti’s Sam Kelly to claim third overall.

“It feels great to win this. I was crying inside my helmet on that last lap. I didn’t know if I would even make it here to race today because of a few difficult personal circumstances. I’m sad my dad couldn’t be here today,” said Rampton afterwards.

Meanwhile, in the four-round men’s championship, Hamilton’s Kayne Lamont, Takaka’s Hamish Harwood, and Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis maintained their respective class leads at the second of four rounds of this competition on Sunday.

Lamont was not as dominant in the premier MX1 class at Rotorua on Sunday as he had been at round one in Taranaki – he was unbeaten in Taranaki but did not win a single race in Rotorua – however, his 3-2-2 score-card at Rotorua was enough for him to finish the day third overall and hold onto the championship lead.

His advantage has been reduced from 15 points to nine, with Australian visitor Kirk Gibbs still second overall, while defending national champion Cody Cooper, from Mount Maunganui, slipped from second equal (level with Gibbs) to third overall.

Gibbs was top MX1 rider at Rotorua, thanks to a 1-3-1 score-card, while Cooper was second best, finishing 2-1-4 on Sunday.

 Former South Islander Harwood, now based in Royal Heights, West Auckland, was again in dynamic form in Rotorua.

He was again unbeaten in the MX2 (250cc) class and the “ironman rider” then took a 300cc version of his bike to finish the day sixth overall against the 450cc riders in the MX1 grade as well.

His main focus again this year is on keeping hold of his MX2 crown, the MX1 class assault “just for fun” at this stage in his career.

Harwood finished the day in Rotorua 13 points clear of the equal runners-up, visiting Australian Jay Wilson and Taupo’s national cross-country champion Brad Groombridge, in the MX2 class.

 With six wins from six starts in the MX2 class, Harwood now has an impressive 28-point advantage over Groombridge, with Wilson a further five points behind, and his title defence perhaps seems a mere formality, although the series is now only at the halfway stage.

In the National 125cc class, Purvis was unbeatable at Rotorua.

Visiting Australian Mason Semmens finished runner-up each time but he is now 12 points behind Purvis with two rounds remaining.

Third best in the 125cc class standings after round two on Sunday is Rotorua’s Joshua Bourke-Palmer, 38 points behind Semmens.

The series will continue with rounds in Hawke’s Bay on March 11 and then Taupo on March 24.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan




Kiwi international X Games showman Levi Sherwood, one of the star attractions at the upcoming MotoFest weekend at Hampton Downs. Photo courtesy Predrag Vuckovic/Red Bull Content Pool

Kiwi international X Games star Levi Sherwood will make a rare appearance on home soil at the Mike Pero MotoFest at Hampton Downs early next month.

The 26-year-old Kiwi will be a headline act at the country’s biggest motorcycle event on March 3-4 where he will run three daily displays alongside fellow freestyle motocross riders Caleb Delacy, from Auckland, and Pukekohe’s Nick Franklin.

“It is a huge motorcycle event and it seems the best of the best will be there whether it is road racing or dirt bike racing – Shayne King, Josh Coppins, Ben Townley, Randy Mamola, Aaron Slight and a bunch of other guys are going to be there,” Sherwood said.

“Caleb, Nick and I will be doing three shows a day and doing everything that you would see on television.

“We will be mingling during the day and doing signings as well.” 

Sherwood has generated a massive worldwide following after his success as part of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour, his X Games and Nitro Circus exploits.

He has been back in New Zealand over summer working on his plans for 2018.

 “I wasn’t going to do any more events before I head back to the United States in May but then this popped up and I couldn’t turn it down,” Sherwood explained.

“It will certainly be the last chance I will have in a little while.” 

Sherwood stunned the freestyle motocross world last year when he landed the first double backflip but unfortunately that isn’t possible at shows yet.

“Not at this round – it is a bit of a shame,” the Palmerston North product said.

“I would love to develop a landing where I could do it at shows because that is what people want to see. The landing I’m doing it on needs to be a lot steeper. 

“Otherwise we’ll be doing everything else we normally do.”

The Mike Pero MotoFest will serve as the third round of the New Zealand Superbike Championship as well as featuring international stars such as Randy Mamola, Slight and Graeme Crosby in what is a festival featuring all types of motorcycling competition.

A highlight will be the Motul Stadium Trials Challenge, featuring New Zealand’s best moto trials riders. There will be a large contingent of classic racing bikes on track while enthusiasts can book a track session for themselves. There is a public trail ride on offer and plans for a massive bike show.

Husqvarna Preview 2018 MXGP Contenders

Husqvarna Motorcycles has released their official pre-season video of the 2018 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing MXGP team, featuring official team riders Gautier Paulin and Max Anstie.

Following on from a solid debut season aboard the FC450 in which he secured third in the 2017 MXGP World Championship standings, Gautier Paulin is looking to climb even higher up the ranks in the 2018 series.

Kicking off the new season with top three race results in pre-season events in Italy and England, Max Anstie will be a strong asset to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing squad alongside teammate Paulin, in the rapidly approaching 2018 World Championship.

The 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship will kick off with the MXGP of Patagonia in Nequen, Argentina on March 3/4, 2018.


ZED – Project MX Nationals – Chapter 3

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 3 sees Chris head to Round 1 of the NZ Motocross Nationals in New Plymouth and have one hell of a time chasing that elusive top 15 placing. Keep an eye out for more edits throughout the season. 

Special thanks to Suzuki New Zealand for the loan of the bike for this season – Workshop Graphics for supplying some sweet decals – and Darbi Accessories who gave us some much needed Acerbis hand guards.


How Was Your Weekend? – Round 1 NZ Motocross Nationals 2018

DRD caught up with some of the protagonists from the first round of the New Zealand Motocross Nationals, held at Barret Road, Taranaki. We ask they boys – ‘How was your weekend?” Watch on to find out their answers!