CAPTION: And they’re off – the gates drop at the start of this senior women’s class race at Cambridge on Saturday and (from left) Gordonton’s Mikayla Rowe (bike No.7), Otago’s Courtney Duncan (No.151), Mount Maunganui’s Roma Edwards (No.79) and Otorohanga’s Zara Gray (No.118) are quick to react. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
It was champions galore at the 2022 edition of the annual New Zealand Veterans’ and Women’s Motocross Championships near Cambridge at the weekend.
Former national and international motocross champions, current champions and rising stars of the sport all locked handlebars at the Skyline MX track at Te Miro, about 17 kilometres from downtown Cambridge, each of them putting on a stunning show for the large crowd in attendance.
The popular annual event – which skipped a beat last year due to the pandemic – featured many riders who, despite their veteran status, still rate among the sport’s elite, while the female side of the sport that shared the race programme at this Kawasaki-sponsored spectacle was just as intense.
Unfortunately, torrential rain overnight on Saturday and Sunday morning forced the organisers to abandon day two. With the picturesque track reduced to mud, with ponds forming and rivers running across the track in many places, it was just as well that more than half the race programme had already been completed by late Saturday afternoon.
The watered-down schedule notwithstanding, the talent on display at the event was truly world class, the main women’s clash including three-time former women’s world champion Courtney Duncan, from Otago.
Back home for a brief spell before returning to Europe to begin her 2023 world championship bid, Duncan was without a doubt the event’s main draw-card rider, while Mount Maunganui’s Roma Edwards, the recently-crowned British women’s champion, and visiting former Australian champion Taylah McCutcheon, from Cornubia, also added enormously to the depth of talent.
In the end, Duncan was virtually untouchable, unbeaten in the three senior women’s races that were completed on Saturday, with McCutcheon and Edwards rounding out the podium.
In fact, there were many stand-out individuals at the weekend, riders who each finished their respective campaigns unbeaten on the race track, and these riders included Mount Maunganui’s multi-time former men’s champion and former international Cody Cooper (vets 35-39 years’ class); Tauranga’s Peter Broxholme (vets 40-44 years’ class); Te Awamutu’s Mark Penny (vets 45-49 years’ class); Whakatane’s Darren Capill (vets 50-54 years’ class); New Plymouth’s Mitch Rowe (vets 55-59 years’ class); Te Awamutu’s Graham Adams (vets over-70 years’ class); Raetihi’s Karaitiana Horne (junior women 125-250cc class); Blenheim’s Stacey Emms (vets women 30-39 years’ class) and Cambridge’s Sandra Hannon (vets women over-40 years’ class).
Other class winners were Morrinsville’s Kieran Leigh (vets 30-34 years’ class); Taupiri’s Mark Fuller (vets over-60 years’ class) and Matamata’s Penny Lang (junior women 85cc class).
Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner Lindsey Heileson said it was “a shame the event had to be cut short, but at least we were spoiled with some great entertainment throughout Saturday”.
He also said he was impressed by the number of people who travelled so far to be at the event – from Balclutha in the south to Whangarei in the north – and the total number of riders packing the start-lines in each category.
“The sport is in a very healthy state, but we are still looking to develop and grow it even more in the future,” he said.
The event was 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