The 2022 NZ Vets & Women’s MX Championships
CAPTION: Otorohanga’s Zara Gray (Kawasaki), expected to be among the leading riders in the senior women’s class this weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
Expect to see champions of the past, present and future locked in heated battles at the annual New Zealand Veterans’ and Women’s Motocross Championships on the outskirts of Cambridge this weekend.
The Kawasaki-sponsored event, on Saturday and Sunday, October 29 and 30, will be hosted at the spectacular Skyline MX venue (at 205 Oliver Rd, Te Miro, Karapiro 3496), with an entry list of riders that reads like a who’s who and who-used-to-be-who of the sport.
Run this season by the Cambridge Motorcycle Club, the popular event will feature many riders who, despite their veteran status, still rate among the sport’s elite, while the female side of the sport that shares the race programme is more still a hotbed for current champions as well as rising stars of the future.
The event again presents real value for money for spectators with racing over two days for both the elite females, in both the junior and senior grades, and intense racing also for the country’s top male riders aged over 30 years.
Stand-outs among the females entered for the annual event include three-time women’s motocross world champion Courtney Duncan, from Otago, former Australian women’s champion Taylah McCutcheon, Mount Maunganui’s 2022 British women’s motocross champion Roma Edwards, Hamilton sisters Amie and Brianna Roberts, fellow Hamilton pair Mikayla Rowe and Nikita Goodwin, Waiuku’s Kimberley Cheetham, Raetihi’s rising star Karaitiana Horne, Taupiri road-racing heroine Billee ‘Thrills Bills’ Fuller, Kaukapakapa’s Ruby Leech and Otorohanga’s versatile motocross and cross-country expert Zara Gray, to name just a few.
In the men’s competition, standout riders might include multi-time national champion Cody Cooper, from Papamoa, Tauranga-based motocross coach Peter Broxholme, former cross-country frontrunners Matt Vining (Te Kauwhata) and Mark Penny (Te Awamutu), Whakatane’s Darren Capill, New Plymouth’s former national 500cc motocross champion Mitch Rowe, Balclutha’s Dean Bond, Masterton’s Moston Wadsworth and Christchurch’s former national MX1 champion Justin McDonald, although any number of the equally-talented riders entered could be in the running for a podium finish.
Cooper won the MX1 class at Labour Weekend’s big MX Fest event in Taupo and so, even at age 39, he’s still obviously very much top of his game.
Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner Lindsey Heileson said “the calibre of competition lining up this weekend is absolutely incredible” and he was looking forward to seeing the action unfold.
“It is great to see all the fields are well supported with entries from all corners of the country. It is going to be edge-of-the-seat racing and fantastic entertainment.”
Even riders who would not normally consider motocross as their prime sport, men such as former Otago rugby captain David Latta. The man from Balclutha will be racing in the veterans’ 55-59 years’ class this weekend and he could possibly spring a surprise or two.
A title hopeful in the veterans’ 45-49 years’ class, Hamilton’s Dwayne Rameka hopes that local knowledge might give him an edge in the veterans’ 45-49 years’ class at the weekend.
“I’ve raced this event as much as I could in the past. There have been years when I didn’t have a bike, like in the early days of having a young family, so I didn’t race, but they’re getting older now and I can get back into it.
“I’m not as fast as I once was,” he laughed. “In my mind maybe I am, but in reality, no I’m not. But it’s a fun event anyway, with great camaraderie, and that’s what it’s all about.”
The event is sponsored and supported by Kawasaki NZ, Motorcycling NZ, the Findlay family, Bayliss Bros Contracting, Pro Earthworks, Dirtworks Waikato, Karapiro Hire, AC Auto Imports, Diesel Turbo Cambridge, Waikato Scaffolders Ltd, Goose & Co Signwriting, McGregor’s Farm Services, Cambridge Insurance Brokers, Cambridge Hire Centre and Cambridge Hire Bins.
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com