The 2023 New Zealand Mini Motocross Nationals

CAPTION: The racing was intense throughout all the various classes at the 2023 New Zealand Mini Motocross Nationals near Christchurch at the weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan,

Talent and bravery in equal measures were on show at the 2023 New Zealand Mini Motocross Nationals at Leeston, south of Christchurch, at the weekend.

The two-day event was hosted by the Christchurch Off-Road Motorcycle Club and sponsored this season by BCC (Baird’s Collision Centre), Un4Seen Decals and The Honda Hub and it catered for a multitude of talented riders aged between four and 11 years and riding bikes with engine capacities ranging between 50cc and 140cc.

With an impressively-large entry list that featured nearly 200 young riders, the racing was certainly intense at the Brookhaven Training Facility, at the weekend, showing that the sport in a positive light and again demonstrating that it was extremely healthy at this grassroots level.

The mini nationals event is widely considered a nursery ground for those starting out in motocross and who knows to what levels that might lead.

Several of the classes went right down to the wire with the final rankings only confirmed after the last on-track action on Sunday.

Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner Lindsey Heileson said the conditions “brought out the best in the riders”.

“It allowed for a true representation of who are the best of the best among our mini motocross riders.

“Saturday was wet, but the host club did a marvellous job to restore the track for top-class racing to develop. The track formed deep ruts, as expected, but the riders did exceptionally well to adapt to the conditions.”

Plenty of current top senior racers have kicked off their stellar careers at the New Zealand Mini Motocross Nationals in the past, individuals such as Tauranga’s Josiah Natzke, Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis, Ohoka’s Levi McMaster and Waitoki’s Cole Davies, among others.

Racing at Leeston this weekend shone the spotlight on the next Kiwi international superstars, young riders who may go on to follow in the wheel tracks of world class New Zealand riders such as Otago’s Courtney Duncan, New Plymouth brothers Darryll, Shayne and Damien King, Motueka’s Josh Coppins, Tauranga’s Brodie Connolly, Oparau’s James Scott, Opotiki’s Cody Cooper or West Auckland’s Hamish Harwood, for example.

It’s interesting to note that those last three riders mentioned here – Scott, Cooper and Harwood – are set to represent New Zealand at the big annual Motocross of Nations (MXoN) in France in less than a week’s time (on October 7-8), the pinnacle of senior racing at international level and often referred to as the “Olympic Games of Motocross”.

This could also be where we see a few of the 2023 New Zealand mini motocross champions, riders such as, for example, Waitoki’s Jack Huggins, Ashburton’s Millar Copland, Whakatane’s Cole Baker, Whakatane’s Marco Carter and Carterton’s Vinnie Edwards appear in Kiwi colours as senior riders at the MXoN in the near future.

Final leading overall standings in the 2023 NZ Mini Motocross Nationals in Canterbury at the weekend:

9-11 years’ 65cc class: 1. Jack Huggins (Waitoki) 114 points; 2. Nicholas Oakshott (Waimate) 110; 3. Max Wright (Palmerston North) 78.

7-8 years’ 65cc class: 1. Millar Copland (Ashburton) 112 points; 2. Cooper Robinson (Whangarei) 111; 3. Cole Baker (Whakatane) 102.

6-8 years’ 50cc class: 1. Cole Baker (Whakatane) 119; 2. Cooper Robinson (Whangarei) 112; 3. Ryder Baird (Christchurch) 104.

8-11 years’ trail bike class: 1. Marco Carter (Whakatane) 117 points; 2. Van Hazelden (Cambridge) 114; 3. Eli Hankins (Helensville).

7-9 years’ trail bike class: 1. Vinnie Edwards (Carterton) 120 points; 2. Rex Rooney (Stratford) 109; 3. Hunter Winstanley (Stratford) 98.

4-7 years’ 50cc intro class: 1. Judah Borrett (Parakai) 117 points; 2. Hunter Blair (Helensville) 116; 3. Blake Allan (Taupo) 91.

4-7 years’ 50cc intro trail class: 1. Louie Stainthorpe (Hamilton) 111 points; 2. Blake Allan (Taupo) 107; 3= Adam Huggins (Waitoki) 92 & Tait Sheeran (Napier) 92.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,