CAPTION: Mount Maunganui’s Josiah Natzke (Kawasaki), currently second in the MX2 (250cc) class, will be desperate to collect some extra points at Pukekohe this weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan,

The 2021 New Zealand Motocross Championships nudge past the halfway stage at Pukekohe this weekend with plenty still left to fight for.

With two of four rounds completed, it looks fairly cut and dried already in two of the five bike categories, although, as we’ve seen recently with the America’s Cup yacht racing, it’s never over until the final chequered flag comes out.

Round three is set for the Pukekohe Motorcycle Club’s track near Harrisville on Saturday and results here could be decisive in deciding where the trophies finally end up.

In the premier MX1 class, West Auckland’s Hamish Harwood has a solid 16-point lead over Mount Maunganui’s multi-time former champion Cody Cooper and, in the MX2 (250cc) class, Mangakino’s defending champion Maximus Purvis has an impressive 27-point advantage over Mount Maunganui’s Josiah Natzke.

It’s much tighter at the top in the MX125 class, the Under-19 class and non-championship MX3 support class.

There are just three points between the current leader in the MX125 class, Tauranga’s Madoc Dixon, and the next two riders, Clevedon’s Cobie Bourke and Silverdale’s Hayden Smith. There is only one point between Otautau’s Jack Treloar at the top of the Under-19 standings and his nearest threat, Te Aroha’s Luke Van Der Lee.

In the MX3 support class, Tauranga’s Josh Nijhuis leads the two men in equal second position, Hamilton’s Darryll King and Whakatane’s Darren Capill, by just 13 points.

The circuit at Harrisville has been a graveyard for champions in the past and it demands to be respected. With hard-pack soil and steep elevation changes, it’s the sort of terrain that can jump up and bite riders if they’re not careful, although sometimes taking a few risks is the only way to win titles.

“We are so fortunate, with the way that the COVID-19 pandemic has been playing out, that we are able to race at Level One restrictions this weekend,” said Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner Ray Broad.

“We are looking forward to another great event and, in fact, it’s going to be a busy weekend at Pukekohe with the club hosting their Auckland Motocross Champs at the same venue the following day (Sunday).”

The series will wrap up with the fourth and final round at Taupo’s Digger McEwen Motocross Park just over a week later, on Sunday, March 28.

The New Zealand Motocross Championships are supported by Aon Insurance, Kawasaki New Zealand, Pirelli tyres and Fox apparel.

Senior NZ Motocross Champs points after two of four rounds:

MX1 class: 1. West Auckland’s Hamish Harwood, 122 points; 2. Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper, 106; 3. Taupo’s Wyatt Chase, 95.

MX2 class (provisional): 1. Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis, 125 points; 2. Mount Maunganui’s Josiah Natzke, 98; 3. Silverdale’s Hayden Smith, 89.

Under-19 class: 1. Otautau’s Jack Treloar, 99 points; 2. Te Aroha’s Luke Van Der Lee, 98; 3. Hamilton’s Nick Westgate, 80.

MX125 class: 1. Tauranga’s Madoc Dixon, 110 points; 2= Clevedon’s Cobie Bourke and Silverdale’s Hayden Smith, 107.

MX3 class: 1. Tauranga’s Josh Nijhuis, 75 points; 2= Hamilton’s Darryll King and Whakatane’s Darren Capill, 62.

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,