CAPTION: The MX2 class blasts out of the starting blocks at Woodville last weekend, with Oparau’s James Scott (Yamaha No.108), Opotiki’s Cody Cooper (GASGAS No.1) and Mount Eden’s Madoc Dixon (KTM No.4) leading the way. Intense action like this can be expected again when the nationals kick off near Rotorua on Saturday. Photo by Andy McGechan,

FEBRUARY 1, 2024: The 2024 New Zealand Motocross Championships kick off in the Bay of Plenty this weekend and, with the incredibly close racing action seen recently, all bets are off as to where the silverware might eventually end up this season.

The four-round Yamaha Motor New Zealand-sponsored series promises to be another cracker, with the all-important opener set for hilly farmland at Horohoro, south of Rotorua, this Saturday.

Expect to see riders such as West Auckland-based former Takaka man Hamish Harwood, Australian professional Jed Beaton and Invercargill’s Jack Treloar to repeat their recent antics and lead the way in the premier MX1 class, while riders such as Oparau’s James Scott, Mount Eden’s Madoc Dixon and defending champion Cody Cooper, from Opotiki, are most likely to vie for top honours in the (250cc) class.

The 125cc class is possibly going to be a happy hunting ground for riders such as Appleby’s Wills Harvey, Bombay’s Reuben Smith and Silverdale-based former Invercargill rider Seth Morrow, to name just a few.

Round two takes riders to Balclutha, at the southern tip of the South Island, on February 25, and the 2024 Yamaha New Zealand Senior Motocross Championships will also see the YZ65 Cup races for juniors staged as a component of the Pukekohe-hosted third round of this senior series, at Harrisville, on March 23.

The fourth and final round is set for the well-regarded Barrett Road facility in Taranaki on April 13.

Motorcycling New Zealand motocross co-commissioner Sonia Cloke, from Taranaki, said she was looking forward to witnessing the racing at Rotorua on Saturday, especially after spectating at the 61st annual Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville last weekend.

A popular stand-alone event, the Woodville motocross produced close and exciting racing throughout all the various classes and also allowed teams and individuals to fine tune their preparations ahead of the nationals.

“If the racing this weekend is of the same calibre we saw at Woodville last weekend, then we really are in for a treat at Rotorua on Saturday,” she said.

The national series attracts riders from the length and breadth of the country and often draws in international competitors as well, with eventual winners, or runners-up in the various categories regularly going on to represent professional teams, or their country, in overseas competitions.

The depth of talent in the sport in New Zealand is amazing and has produced several world champions over the years, including four-time and current women’s world champion Courtney Duncan, from Otago.

In addition to Yamaha Motor New Zealand, other key financial backers for the 2024 season include Fox, Pirelli, Alpinestars and Motomuck, all offering great support to the popular annual series.

2024 Yamaha Motor NZ Motocross Championships calendar:

Round 1, Rotorua, February 3, 2024

Round 2, Balclutha, February 25, 2024

Round 3, Pukekohe, March 23, 2024

Round 4, Taranaki, April 13, 2024

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,