CAPTION: Oparau’s James Scott (Honda No.3) leads the way at the start of this MX2 (250cc) class race at Pukekohe on Saturday. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
The 2021 New Zealand Motocross Championships are now charging towards a thrilling final showdown in Taupo next weekend following a cliff-hanger penultimate round at Pukekohe on Saturday.
There were different race leaders and fresh winners in several of the bike divisions at Pukekohe on Saturday, but the more surprises that popped up, the more things really stayed about the same.
West Auckland’s Hamish Harwood extended his lead in the premier MX1 class and Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis did likewise in the MX2 (250cc) class, although the lead did dramatically change hands in the smallest bike group, the MX125 class, for 125cc bike riders.
The MX1 class was notable in that multi-time former MX1 champion Cody Cooper celebrated his first win of the campaign on Saturday, but then also, in the final race of the day, he suffered a rare bike problem, an electrical issue forcing the Mount Maunganui man to drop out of the close battle for the lead in that race.
This glitch was quickly rectified and his charge back through the pack was inspirational, but ultimately cost him dearly too and, after finishing an unaccustomed fifth in that fateful race, he is now a huge 23 points adrift of Harwood with just three races at Taupo left now to complete the series.
Taupo’s Wyatt Chase and Hamilton’s Kayne Lamont are ranked third and fourth respectively after Saturday and should also be among the favourites to shine at Taupo next weekend.
In the MX2 class, Purvis suffered his first setback of the series at Pukekohe. Unbeaten in this class after two rounds of the championship, he was twice forced to accept runner-up spot as Oparau’s James Scott turned up the wick on Saturday.
However, that may turn out to be little more than a judder bar on his way to successfully defending his MX2 crown. Purvis heads to Taupo with a massive 40-point advantage over second-ranked Scott.
It was a furious dog-fight in the MX125 class at Pukekohe, with the series leader at the start of the day, Tauranga’s Madoc Dixon, dropping down to third in the standings, while Silverdale’s Hayden Smith came on strong on Saturday to take over the championship lead. Clevedon’s Cobie Bourke was also outstanding at Pukekohe and, instead of sharing the No.2 position, he now holds it on his own.
This remains the tightest class, with just 15 points to separate this top three.
“Perhaps we are seeing a changing of the guard in the MX1 class,” said Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner Ray Broad.
“We have some exciting new talent coming through in this premier class, riders such as Te Puke’s Tyler Steiner, Dunedin’s Campbell King, Taupo’s Hadleigh Knight and Napier’s Tommy Watts impressing at Pukekohe.
“Maximus Purvis is looking good for a successful defence of his MX2 crown and he’ll be off to race in Australia after the Taupo event … we wish him well for that.
“The 125cc class is still wide open and these guys have been putting on a great show, which we are sure will carry on at Taupo.”
The series wraps up with the fourth and final round at Taupo’s Digger McEwen Motocross Park this coming weekend, 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 three of four rounds:
MX1 class: 1. West Auckland’s Hamish Harwood, 192 points; 2. Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper, 169; 3. Taupo’s Wyatt Chase, 159.
MX2 class (provisional): 1. Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis, 194 points; 2. Oparau’s James Scott 154; 3. Silverdale’s Hayden Smith, 151.
Under-19 class: 1. Matamata’s Brodie Connolly, 150 points; 2. Te Aroha’s Luke Van Der Lee, 145; 3. Christchurch’s Marshall Phillips 128.
MX125 class: 1. Silverdale’s Hayden Smith, 179; 2. Clevedon’s Cobie Bourke, 172; 3. Tauranga’s Madoc Dixon, 164.
MX3 class: 1. Hamilton’s Darryll King, 137; 2 Whakatane’s Darren Capill, 122; Tauranga’s Brendon White, 85.
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com