The 2023 New Zealand ATV MX Championships
The cream of the crop descended on Canterbury at the weekend for the 2023 edition of the New Zealand ATV Motocross Championships and they delivered intense race action of the highest order.
The scene was buzzing with excitement when racers arrived at the Dorie MX track, just south of Rakaia, for the 2023 New Zealand ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) Motocross Championships over the Saturday and Sunday of Labour Weekend.
The event featured seven races for each of the various classes over the two days and this tested even the fittest and most capable of riders.
It should almost have been predictable that the seven-time national premier grade champion, Taranaki’s defending national champion Camo Keegan, would again be a standout individual.
And he was … but even more outstanding over the two days was 24-year-old Christchurch rider Taylor Graham, who eventually took the premier title by a solitary point from Keegan and put an end to the Stratford rider’s amazing win streak.
The 34-year-old Keegan was beaten to the chequered flag by Graham in the opening race on Saturday – perhaps not enough to have Keegan in a panic, but certainly reason for him to take seriously the threat that Graham would pose.
Christchurch’s George Doig won the second premier race, with Graham forced to accept runner-up spot, while Keegan finished an unaccustomed fourth, and so the writing was now on the wall for the defending champion.
Graham won three of the seven premier grade races over the two days and finished no worse than third in the others, while Keegan won two, Doig won one (and also suffered an unfortunate DNF at the weekend), with Amberley’s Angus Parish winning the other race.
It was a heartbreaking weekend for Parish, who could only complete three races on Saturday and was a non-starter on Sunday, due to electrical and then mechanical issues.
It was a similarly tight and nail-biting affair in the 450cc Production class, with Christchurch’s Bailey Graham just doing enough to edge out Doig, also by just one point, for that title.
Dunedin’s Devan Whitelock claimed the final podium step in the 450cc Production class.
Other class winners at the weekend were Christchurch’s Lori Graham (Women’s class); Christchurch’s Greg Graham (Veterans); Christchurch’s Fraser Van Herpt (250cc Production); Springston’s Conner Brocherie (125cc Production) and Pegasus rider Ben Abbott (Clubmans).
Christchurch’s Mason Bucknell was Mini Max champion and younger brother Nixon Bucknell was winner of the Mini 50s.
“It was a fantastic event with a high level of riding skill on display, a very technical but fun track prepared by Canterbury ATV, allowing for some fierce competition through all grades,” said Motorcycling New Zealand ATV commissioner Olaf Bovendeerd, from Rakaia.
“It was remarkable to see the Graham family take out the titles in every senior championship class and also great to see that Mason Bucknall, Conner Brocherie and Greg Graham defended their respective titles.”
The 2023 New Zealand ATV MX Championships were sponsored by Surfacing Solutions Ltd, Canterbury Landscape Supplies Ltd, Cox Racing, Moa Mansions, Waimak Auto Repairs, Makikihi Fries, The Plant People, Ffitch Racing, Graham Racing and Gavin Dore Event Audio Services, in association with T Brocherie and Son Ltd.
Credit: Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com