The race was close in most classes at the popular Barrett Road motorcycle park in Taranaki over the weekend. Photo/Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
The sport of motocross is really taking off in New Zealand, in more ways than one, and that was well demonstrated at the 2022 New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships in Taranaki this weekend.
The Kiwi internationals of the future also revealed themselves in the always-scorching action of the race.
A sun-baked Taranaki put on an amazing show. The hilly course, in the shadow of a snow-capped Mount Taranaki, provided an exciting challenge for all concerned, especially as the ruts gradually deepened and made it all the more difficult for the young riders to manage as fatigue had really started to set up on Sunday afternoon.
But the riders, all aged between 8 and 16 and riding bikes with displacements between 65cc and 250cc, generally responded by showing they had the mental and physical toughness to match their speed and skill. .
Two former Kiwi world champions, Shayne King of New Plymouth and Ben Townley of Tauranga, were there to pass the baton to their sons, these young men showing that they too could one day be world-class riders.
Waitoki’s Cole Davies, who just turned 15, also won the 125cc 15-16 class title. It was an impressive performance from Davies, who won nine of his 10 races over the weekend and finished second in the other race.
Invercargill’s Seth Morrow was second to Davies in the 250cc class, with New Plymouth’s Rian King settling for third overall.
Second to Davies in the 15-16 year old 125cc class was fellow countryman King, while Bombay’s Reuben Smith grabbed the last place on the podium.
There were similarly close battles for the top spots in every other class, although dual-class ironman Morrow appeared well in control as he won the 12-14 125cc class title for a second consecutive season. . He won all five races in this category over the weekend.
Carson Mackie of Hamilton and Kase Thoms of Leeston joined Morrow on that younger 125cc podium, with those two riders finishing level on points, but Mackie was given the nod to take the honors under the countdown rule.
Appleby’s Wills Harvey looked unfazed as he won the 85cc/150cc 14-16 year old class, finishing the weekend unbeaten in that class. Aydan Hall of Whakatane and Connor Heaphy of Nelson finished second and third respectively behind Harvey.
Hayden Draper of Karaka won the 85cc/150cc 12-13 year old class ahead of Levi Townley of Tauranga and Declan Connors of Taupo. Townley won four of his five races in this class, but an electrical problem in the other race earned him an unwelcome no-score and it cost him dearly.
Hastings rider Harry Daly and Tauranga’s Jaggar Townley were locked in a fierce battle for top spot in the 8-11 year old 85cc/15occ class, but Daly won the race that really mattered, the last of the weekend , to win the title. just two points behind this younger of the two boys from Townley.
Tauranga’s Arama Te Whetu had led this class after Friday’s first race, but a mixed bag of results in the two days that followed saw him settle for third place overall in this class.
Jaggar Townley won four of his five races in the 65cc 8-11 class, finishing the championships ahead of Connor Feather of Taupo and Levi Rodgers of Tokoroa.
Breanna Rodgers of Tokoroa won the Women’s 12-16 125cc/250cc class ahead of Australia’s Rayne Alefosio and Jessica Harris of Stratford, while Karaitiana Horne of Raetihi topped the Women’s 85cc/125cc 12-16 class for a second consecutive season. Horne this time finished ahead of Ruby Leech of Auckland and Milla Glasgow of Waitoki.
Hannah Perris of Whangārei dominated the women’s 8-11 85cc/150cc class, finishing the weekend ahead of Indie Allison of Feilding and Ella Mackie of Hamilton.