CAPTION: Close racing such as this will again be expected at Woodville in just over a week’s time as riders chase GP titles as well as national championship points. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
It’s already the premier motocross event on the Kiwi calendar, but now the famous New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville will have even more significance.
The 60th anniversary of this iconic event is set for just over a week’s time, on the weekend of January 30-31, and space for the big teams to find parking space on pit lane is about to run out, while the organisers are working at pace to get all the rider entries packed into the event programme.
There’s twice as much importance this time around for racers to get themselves switched on – this year’s Honda-sponsored Woodville MXGP will have double the significance because it is also being recognised as the opening round of the senior New Zealand Motocross Championships.
This means racers will, as usual, arrive for the two-day event in search of GP trophy honours, but also now come to hunt down valuable points towards national titles.
Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner Ray Broad said Woodville would signify the start to a thrilling series, competition always fast and furious as the nation’s elite chase championship glory on four separate but popular and equally-challenging circuits, those tracks also having undergone upgrades in recent weeks.
After the Woodville opener, New Zealand Motocross Championship rounds follow at Rotorua on Sunday, February 21, with round three at Pukekohe on Saturday, March 20 (with a junior and mini open event on Sunday, March 21) and the fourth and final round at Taupo on Sunday, March 28.
“It’s going to be a fantastic season, with the inclusion of the Women’s Cup, 2T Cup and the MX3 class racing now being a series. This is on top of New Zealand’s best competing in the MX1, MX2 and MX125 classes. It’s looking like being one of the most competitive seasons to date,” said Broad.
In addition to chasing valuable points towards MX1, MX2 and MX125 class honours, Woodville’s opening round will stage the first of four rounds of the inaugural 2T Cup (for two-stroke bikes) and the first of two rounds for the Women’s Cup.
“The majority of New Zealand motocross riders already compete at Woodville each year and, because we were uncertain what might be happening with the COVID-19 pandemic and with us wanting to keep down the costs for riders, we have decided to combine these events,” said Broad.
“Unfortunately there are no South Island rounds on the New Zealand Motocross Championships calendar, however we are resurrecting the travel subsidy scheme for South Island riders who commit to three or more rounds. It will be paid out on a pro-rata basis,” he said.
“We will be working closely with South Island clubs to ensure a return in 2022.”
Broad said an Under-19 Championship will again be run and would be awarded to the best-placed rider aged under-19 who is competing in the MX2 class, just as it has been for the past two seasons. So riders entering MX2 and are aged under 19 on the first day they compete, will automatically be entered into the under-19 class as well. New Zealand’s under-19 champion last year (Oparau’s James Scott) was also in the top three overall in the MX2 class.
“The other exciting news is the new 2T Cup class. This is for the 2-stroke bike riders who compete within the MX1 class and we now ensure they are recognised for their achievements. This is based on the European 2T class and, like the under-19 class, riders competing in MX1 on a 2-stroke bike (151cc and over) are also included in the 2T Cup, with the top 10 riders acknowledged at the prize giving after the final round in Taupo.
“There will be no MX3 non-championship support class races run at the Woodville round, but there would be at the three rounds that follow and this year it will be a series. MX3 is a three-round series, so this year the competition will really heat up. However those MX3 grade riders who want to compete at Woodville still can, in the senior support class.”
There is no doubt, this year’s Championship is shaping up to be the best yet and with Woodville in the mix, it will be the year, no one will want to miss.
Entries for Woodville close this Friday (January 22), with entries for rounds two, three and four of the championship going live today (January 20).
Broad said the 2021 Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville, and all of the other rounds of the nationals too, would be live-streamed on the Sky Sport Next programme.
2021 NZ Motocross Champs calendar:
Round One: January 30-31, 2021 (in conjunction with the NZMX Grand Prix at Woodville). Manawatu-Orion MCC. MX1 (& 2T Cup), MX2 (& under-19), MX125 & round one of the Women’s Cup.
Round Two: Sunday, February 21, 2021. Rotorua Motorcycle Club. MX1 (& 2T Cup), MX2 (& under-19), MX125 & MX3.
Round Three: Saturday, March 20. Pukekohe Motorcycle Club. MX1 (& 2T Cup), MX2 (& under-19), MX125 & MX3 (followed by Junior and Mini open at Pukekohe on Sunday, March 21).
Round Four: Sunday, March 28. Taupo Motorcycle Club. MX1 (& 2T Cup), MX2 (& under-19), MX125, MX3 & round two of the Women’s Cup. Prize giving is arranged for that evening.
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com