CAPTION: Oparau’s James Scott (Yamaha), who contested the British Grand Prix at Matterley Basin, near Winchester, at the weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
Two fearless New Zealand riders made the most of their overseas adventure at the weekend, racing at the 19th and final round of the Motocross World Championships in England.
Oparau’s James Scott and New Plymouth’s Rian King headed to Europe to race at the championship-ending British GP at the spectacular Matterley Basin circuit, near Winchester, in southern England, on Saturday and Sunday and the two young men banked valuable experience by racing against the world’s elite for the first time this season.
Scott had previously raced in Europe earlier in his career, but, for the 17-year-old King, it was his first crack at motocross at this elite international level.
Scott is to represent New Zealand for the first time in the MX2 class at the season-ending Motocross of Nations (MXoN) in France next month, a prestigious event often referred to as the “Olympic Games of Motocross”.
The weekend’s racing in England therefore provided an ideal warm-up for the South Waikato rider ahead of the MXoN at Ernee, in north-western France, on the weekend of October 7-8.
However, as it turned out, he suffered a mishap early on Saturday and could consider himself lucky just to have been able to line up for racing proper at the event in the UK.
“It was an up and down day for me on Saturday when I had a very big crash in timed practice (for the MX2 class) and I was pretty banged up,” Scott revealed.
“Luckily, I got cleared by the medics to start in the qualifying race.
“I got off to a decent start rode tight for the first few laps, but then I got into a nice rhythm. I struggled with pain in the end of the race and made a few mistakes,” he said, eventually finishing 23rd in Saturday’s qualifying race, battling 31 of the best riders from 14 mostly-European countries.
In the two longer-duration world championship races the following day, Scott managed to finish 24th and 23rd, good enough for him to finish the weekend 24th overall for the Grand Prix.
King, meanwhile, was racing in the lesser European Motocross Championships (EMX) 250cc class, being run in conjunction with the GP, and the teenager was thrilled to be able to take on the world at this level, just below Grand Prix status.
He qualified 28th out of 35 riders in the EMX250 class, finishing the session more than a second clear of Lotte Van Drunen, the female Dutch star who was guest riding in the EMX250 races at the weekend.
Van Drunen had just earlier this month finished third overall in the 2023 Women’s Motocross World Championships, which were won four a fourth time by Kiwi rider Courtney Duncan, with Spanish rider Daniela Guillen claiming the runner-up spot.
King then backed that up by finishing 18th and then 22nd in the two championship races that followed, earning him 24th overall for the weekend.
Although this was King’s only appearance in the EMX250 series this season, he scored championship points and finished 58th out of 66 riders competing in the series this season.
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com