The 2023 New Zealand Motocross Championships

CAPTION: Close racing such as this should be expected at Balclutha this coming weekend as the nation’s elite motocross racers chase national championship points. Photo by Andy McGechan,

The waiting is almost over and, like hunting dogs that have been caged up for just a little bit too long, New Zealand’s leading motocross exponents are all set to go on a feeding frenzy.

The four-round 2023 senior New Zealand Motocross Championships will launch this coming weekend and the nation’s top riders will be gnashing their teeth ahead of the first drop of the start gate.

The opening round of the Aon Insurance, Pirelli tyres and Fox apparel-sponsored series is set for Balclutha this coming Sunday (on February 12), followed by racing near Rotorua (on February 26), near Hastings (on March 129) and finally at Taupo, on March 26.

Aside from the popular annual MX Fest event held in Taupo four months ago, and perhaps a handful of regional championship events scattered in between, there really have not been many opportunities for riders to truly test themselves against one another in the past 12 months or so.

The 2023 edition of the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville – always the first major motocross of the year – was unfortunately rained off just over a week ago, organisers forced to abandon the traditional two-day event when the venue became flooded, and so riders will certainly be keen to finally get let off the leash in the South Island this weekend.

The motocross nationals did not go ahead at all last season because of restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, so that further adds to the keen anticipation for this year’s series to begin.

An impressive array of Kiwi internationals and current and former champions are among the entries for Sunday.

The list includes experienced campaigners such Papamoa’s Cody Cooper, Westgate’s Hamish Harwood, Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis, Silverdale-based former Taihape man Hayden Smith, Hamilton’s Kayne Lamont and Rangiora’s Micah McGoldrick, to name a few, this year racing one another in the glamour MX1 class.

Oparau’s James Scott, Mount Maunganui’s Cobie Bourke, Te Puke’s Tyler Steiner, Dunedin’s Sam Cuthbertson, Pukekohe’s Tyler Brown, Cambridge’s Jared Hannon, Dairy Flats rider Cole Davies, Kerikeri’s Logan Denize, Taupo’s Cody Griffiths, Nelson’s Wills Harvey, Christchurch’s Marshall Phillips, Levin’s Phoenix Van Dusschoten and New Plymouth brothers Curtis and Rian King are also among those worth watching out for at Balclutha.

The 2023 senior women’s motocross nationals will share the programme for the North Island rounds, enhancing even more the scale and importance of the racing this season.

It will be the first time that the senior women’s nationals will run in tandem with the corresponding men’s competition.

In the women’s ranks, we can expect to see potential title-winning performances from 2022 British Women’s Motocross Champion Roma Edwards, of Mount Maunganui, Hamilton sisters Aime and Brianna Roberts, Opunake’s Taylar Rampton, Otorohanga’s Zara Gray, Maungaturoto’s Meg Paton, Wainuiomata’s Ella Burns and Hamilton’s Mikayla Rowe, among others.

Racing at all rounds will be live-streamed courtesy throughout the day.

2023 New Zealand Motocross Championships:

Round one: February 12 – South Otago (at Balclutha);

Round two: February 26 – Rotorua (including women’s nationals);

Round three: March 19 – Hastings (including women’s nationals);

Round four: March 26 – Taupo (including women’s nationals).

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,