The 2023 New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships

CAPTION: The action was intense in Invercargill at the weekend, especially as riders were forced to fight through congestion at the first turn, as is evident at the start of this in this 14-16 years’ 250cc class race. Photo by Geoff Guthrie Imagery.

The racing was intense from the first race until the last when Southland hosted the 2023 New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships at the weekend.

The MotoSouth, KTM and Kawasaki-sponsored annual school holiday event was run over three days, from Friday through until Sunday, at The Sandpit track on Pit Road, at Otatara, on the southern outskirts of Invercargill and, in most cases, it took until the final lap of the final race before a title winner could be declared.

The racing at the junior nationals was again this year incredibly fierce, with the elite of New Zealand’s junior motocross talent, aged between eight and 16 years, all determined to make their mark.

Best of the riders in the eldest age category, the premier 14-16 years’ 250cc class, was Pukehina rider Flynn Watts, with Levin’s Phoenix Van Dusschoten forced to settle for overall runner-up, while Silverdale-based former Invercargill teenager Seth Morrow completed the 250cc podium.

Dual-class ironman Morrow was a frontrunner in the 15-16 years’ 125cc class as well, eventually winning that title ahead of Richmond’s Wills Harvey and Queenstown’s Alex Garland.

Best of the females was Raetihi’s Karaitiana Horne and she truly dominated her 12-16 years’ 125cc/250cc girls’ class, winning all five of her races over the three days and ending the weekend on the top podium step in this premier girls’ category, comfortably ahead of Mangakino’s Teagan Wilkin-Thom and Taupo’s Mikayla Griffiths.

Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner Lindsey Heileson said: “The racing was fantastic”.

“New champions were crowned in every single class. Apart from the eldest of the junior girls’ classes, where Raetihi’s Karaitiana Horne finished the weekend unbeaten, none of the titles were decided until the final race.

“The standard of racing was top-notch. I felt the facilities here were outstanding and the club and committee did a splendid job. This would have to be one of the top tracks in the country. I could see a senior nationals event being held here in the future,” said Heileson.

“The racing was truly phenomenal and I don’t think I’ve seen anything as close and exciting in a long time.”

Other class winners at the event were Leeston’s Kase Thoms (12-14 years’ 125cc class); Otorohanga’s Cooper Phillips (14-16 years’ 85cc/150cc class); Mangakino’s Maz Parkes (12-13 years’ 85cc/150cc class); Ohoka’s Levi McMaster (8-11 years’ 85cc/150cc class); Taupo’s Connor Feather (8-11 years’ 65cc class) and Whangarei’s Hannah Perris (12-16 years’ 85cc/150cc girls’ class).

Credit: Words by Andy McGechan,

Credit: Photo by Geoff Guthrie Imagery