The 2020 Battle of the Clubs MX at Taupo

Motocross fans were spoiled with a feast of action at the weekend as the Taupo Motorcycle Club hosted an expanded MX Fest spectacular, the event spilling over to three days as it also this time included the separate Battle of the Clubs event.

Now in its 35th year, the popular Huka Honda-sponsored MX Fest, normally run over the Saturday and Sunday of Labour Weekend, enjoyed an added boost this season as it also staged the Battle of the Clubs (BOTC) fundraiser motocross event on Friday, attracting six-rider teams from all parts of the country, this inter-club competition to raise funds for Team New Zealand’s annual assault on the Motocross of Nations (MXoN) in Europe.

Although the 2020 edition of this international “Olympic Games of Motocross” is not going ahead in France this season, it simply means funds raised over Labour Weekend will help the Kiwis get a head-start on building for their 2021 campaign.

The club-versus-club format used for this event – which is similar to the nation-versus-nation configuration of the MXoN – is immensely popular with the New Zealand motocross community.

The Battle of the Clubs is an event that had originally been scheduled to run earlier this year, before it was postponed due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

There were some intriguing match-ups in Friday’s BOTC, with typical draw-card riders such as Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper, Taupo’s Brad Groombridge, Hamilton’s Josiah Natzke, Oparau’s James Scott, Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis, Hamilton’s Kayne Lamont, West Auckland’s Hamish Harwood, tauranga’s Brodie Connolly, Brighton’s Campbell King, Invercargill’s Jack Symon, Otautau’s Jack Treloar, Manukau’s Cobie Bourke, Mount Maunganui’s Rhys Carter and Christchurch’s Justin McDonald, for example, all teaming up along club lines, rather than representing specific bike brands or high-profile factory race teams.

In the end, it was the strength and consistency of the Cambridge Motorcycle Club that shone through to take the main trophy, despite the spectacularly-fast Connolly crashing and being unable to finish the final race of the day.

Runners-up were the riders representing the Southland Motorcycle Club, with one of the host Taupo Motorcycle Club teams taking the third spot on the podium. The Christchurch Motorcycle Club and then the Pukekohe Motorcycle Club completed the top-five clubs overall.

“The weather played its part and it was another great BOTC event,” said Taupo Motorcycle Club president Bevan Weal, the man who, coincidentally, is also the team manager each year for New Zealand’s MXoN campaign.

“This event is so important. It plays a huge part in us Kiwis getting a team to the other side of the world each year to race the MXoN. And this event also allows the motorcycling community to participate and be a part of what we might achieve in Europe or the USA.

“It’s a gap year for the MXoN this year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we have a head start on our next campaign after that and I’ve heard it’s likely to be back to France in 2021.

“The atmosphere around the pits here at the BOTC is amazing. Riders really look forward to this event. So COVID fever is replaced by BOTC fever, for the weekend at least.”

A total of $6500 was raised by the BOTC event to assist in New Zealand’s next MXoN campaign.

PHOTO: The Cambridge Motorcycle Club team of (from left) Josiah Natzke, Carson Mackie, Michael Cotter, Brodie Connolly, Hunter Scott and Dylan Westgate, overall winners of the 2020 Battle of the Clubs fundraiser motocross at Taupo over the weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan,

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,