The 2022 New Zealand Mini Motocross Nationals

CAPTION: It’s a traffic jam Tokoroa style as rider burst out of the gate at the start of this race at the 2022 New Zealand Mini Motocross Nationals near Tokoroa at the weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan,

The trophy engravers will be working overtime after the 2022 edition of the New Zealand Mini Motocross Nationals wrapped up in Tokoroa at the weekend.

And the jewellers may as well get templates made for the recipients too, as they’ll no doubt be etching some of these same names into silverware again in the near future.

Talent certainly abounded at the Lucas Oil Motocross Park at Amisfield, on the outskirts of Tokoroa, for this year’s two-day Un4Seen Decals-sponsored event, catering for riders aged between four and 11 years and riding bikes with engine capacities anywhere between 50cc and 140cc.

With an impressively-large entry list and intense racing at the weekend, it showed the sport in a positive light and showed it was extremely healthy at this grassroots level.

The mini nationals is considered a nursery ground for those starting out in motocross and who knows where that might lead.

Taranaki’s Shayne King, who was the 500cc motocross world champion in 1996, is one man who knows better than most and he, as he looked over the racing at Tokoroa on Saturday, he remarked “this is where world champions are made”.

“These are the first steps on the pathway to becoming a world motocross or supercross champion,” he said.

“At the mini motocross nationals they’re all young, they’re learning, the sport is exciting and everyone turns up with the big trailers, the atmosphere is buzzing, the track is amazing and you can measure yourself against all the best rising stars in the country.

“Riders come here from all parts of the country, the North Island and the South Island, and the turn-out is probably even bigger than the senior nationals.

“I never had a chance to ride the minis when I was their age … it wasn’t a thing back then. I did  start riding at the age of three, but couldn’t compete until I was aged eight and that was on 85cc bikes. Today they can start as young as four and race on 50cc bikes. Those early years can be a real boost to the learning process.

“The opportunities are available today and it’s great to see so many young riders taking advantage of that.”

Perhaps an international podium somewhere is where we may see Kiwi youngsters such as Levi McMaster, Jaxx Hunter, Flynn Roskam Harris, Austin Vining, Vinnie Edwards and Cameron Travers standing proud in the near future.

These same individuals got plenty of experience standing on podiums in Tokoroa at the weekend, with Canterbury’s McMaster winning the premier 9-11 years’ 65cc class ahead of Palmerston North’s Hunter and Winton’s Roskam, while Te Kauwhata’s Vining won the 7-8 years’ 65cc class ahead of Carterton’s Edwards and Kumeu’s Travers.

Final leading overall standings in the 2022 NZ Mini Motocross Nationals at the weekend:

9-11 years’ 65cc class: 1. Levi McMaster (Ohoka) 120 points; 2. Jaxx Hunter (Palmerston North) 104; 3. Flynn Roskam (Winton) 93.

7-8 years’ 65cc class: 1. Austin Vining (Te Kauwhata) 113 points; 2. Vinnie Edwards (Carterton) 107; 3. Cameron Travers (Kumeu) 82.

6-8 years’ 50cc class: 1. Jai Gibson (Te Awamutu) 118 points. 2. Adam Bockett (Helensville) 100; 3. Hunter Cowie (Queenwood) 98.

8-11 years’ trail bike class: 1. Jack Hazelden (Karipiro) 119 points; 2. Josh Todd (Rai Valley) 116; 3. Jaxx Hunter (Palmerston North) 100.

7-9 years’ trail bike class: 1. Levi McMaster (Ohoka) 120 points; 2. Vinnie Edwards (Carterton) 110; 3. Eli Hankins (Helensville) 105.

4-7 years’ 50cc intro class: 1. Reef Callis (Tirau) 125 points; 2. Deklan Burton (Otorohanga) 98; 3. Laken Guntrip (Rotorua) 95.

4-7 years’ 50cc intro trail class: 1. Levi Pickerill (Te Awamutu) 125 points;  2. Cole Baker (Whakatane) 96  3. Rex Rooney (Stratford) 96; .

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,