2022 New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships

CAPTION: Expect close racing like this when the start gates drop in Taranaki this weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

There is perhaps no better launch-pad for young Kiwi racers hoping to achieve motocross fame and fortune than the New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships and this weekend should be no exception.

It will be all about young racers stepping up to be counted when the 2022 edition of this annual event blasts off in Taranaki this Saturday and Sunday.

A traditional breeding ground for the sport, this year’s Aon-sponsored New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships on October 7-9 should again offer a few clues as to where the senior champions of the future will come from and, if several notable past examples are taken into account, it could also hint at which individuals might even go on to become world champions in the years to come.

Former world class riders such as Taranaki brothers Darryll, Shayne and Damien King, Motueka’s Josh Coppins, Bay of Plenty’s Ben Townley and Otago’s Courtney Duncan, and current leading senior stars such as Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis, Mount Maunganui’s Josiah Natzke and Oparau’s James Scott can all trace the start of their winning careers back to their junior motocross days.

Oparau’s Hunter Scott and local star Rian King, from New Plymouth, are certainly a couple of riders who will be expected to step up and be counted at the Barrett Road track, on the outskirts of New Plymouth, this weekend.

Scott dominated the eldest of the junior categories – the 14-16 years’ 250cc class – at the Waikato Motocross Championships in December last year.

But there is no shortage of other equally-talented riders who will be looking to challenge for the premier crown this weekend, including Waitoki’s Cole Davies, Bombay’s Reuben Smith, Invercargill’s Seth Morrow, Leeston brothers Kobe and Kase Thoms and Tauranga’s Jack Coleman, to name a few.

The annual Battle of the Teams event at Taupo in June and the multi-round Taupo Winter Series also threw up a few other names to watch for this weekend, including Appleby’s Wills Harvey, Hastings rider Charlie Schaw, Queenstown’s Alex Garland, Whanganui’s Chase Williamson, Cambridge’s Jayden King and Taranaki trio Ajay Jordan, Preeda Boon and Kurtis Gooch.

Racing should be hot too in the younger categories, with riders such as Mangakino’s Maz Parkes and Tauranga’s Levi Townley likely to be among the frontrunners.

Top females to watch for this weekend include Raetihi’s Karaitiana Horne, Wainuiomata’s Ella Burns and Auckland pair Ruby Leech and Mikayla Matthews, to name a few.

“I am looking forward to our first championship event since the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner Lindsey Heileson.

“I am expecting some amazing, close, hard racing between some of the country’s top junior riders.

“The host Taranaki Motorcycle Club has done an amazing job with the planning of this event at fairly short notice, so it should turn out to be an exceptional event all around.”

The New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships are supported by Aon, Rockworkz, Yamaha NZ and Dent Contracting.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com