The 2020 NZ Vets & Women’s Motocross National

It was champions galore at the 2020 edition of the annual New Zealand Veterans’ and Women’s Motocross National near Gore at the weekend.

Former national motocross champions, current champions and rising stars all locked handlebars at the two-day event on farmland property at Riversdale, midway between Lumsden and Gore, on Saturday and Sunday and put on a stunning show for the large crowd in attendance.

The popular annual event featured many riders who, despite their veteran status, still rate among the sport’s elite, while the female side of the sport that shared the race programme was just as intense.

There were several stand-out individuals at the weekend, riders who each finished their respective campaigns unbeaten on the race track, and these riders were Rangitata’s Eldon McGaw (vets 30-34 years’ class); Masterton’s Johnny Burkhart (vets 35-39 years’ class); Motueka’s Josh Coppins (vets 40-44 years’ class); Cambridge’s Mike Cotter (vets 45-49 years’ class); New Plymouth’s Mitch Rowe (vets 55-59 years’ class); Pukekohe’s Tony Cooksley (vets over-60 years’ class) and Hastings’ rider Halle Cox (junior women 12-16 years’ class).

Waipu’s Neil Boniface won the “handicapped” (points earned in race plus the rider’s age) Champion of Champions feature race that wound up the weekend.

Motorcycling New Zealand president Noel May was a spectator at the event and said the weekend was “perfect in so many ways”.

“I was really impressed by the number of people who travelled so far to be here and they were all just glowing about how well the event was run.

“Landowners Peter and Sue Dale were simply wonderful too, bending over backwards to make everything happen. It was a real family atmosphere at the event.”

Host Gore And District Motorcycle Club president Brendon Stevens said the venue was “dry and dusty on day one, but welcome rain overnight made it perfect for Sunday”.

“It was great racing until the final race to decide podium positions in many classes. Some of the South Islanders were familiar with the track, but for most riders it was fresh and everyone enjoyed it.”

Meanwhile, other class winners from the weekend were Whakatane’s Darren Capill (vets 50-54 years’ class); Hamilton’s Amie Roberts (senior women’s class); Waitara’s Kasey Gooch (junior women 12-16 years’ 65-85cc class) and Taupo’s Mikayla Griffiths (junior women 8-11 years’ 60-85/150cc class).

The event was jointly sponsored by Beatties Collision Repair Centre, Aitken Joinery Ltd, Andrews Transport, Yamaha Agricentre, Ewan Allan Honda, David Stevenson Auto, Mataura Licensing Trust, Abernethy Contracting, Community Trust of Southland, McHaffie Building Ltd and T&E Motorcycles.

PHOTO: Winton’s Marty Axtens (KTM), one of the leading riders at the weekend’s New Zealand Veterans’ and Women’s Motocross Championships near Gore. He finished the weekend runner-up in the veterans’ 50-54 years’ class by just one point from Whakatane’s Darren Capill. Photo by Andy McGechan,

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,