CAPTION: Appleby’s Wills Harvey (Yamaha No.122), hoping he can repeat his 125cc class performances from Woodville and Rotorua when he lines up in Balclutha this weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan,

The 2024 New Zealand Motocross Championships may be headed to the deep south this weekend, but we can again expect the race action to be red hot.

This first of four rounds in the Yamaha Motor New Zealand-sponsored series was held near Rotorua three weeks ago, delivering exceptional entertainment, with three of the four championship classes producing multiple race winners, and more of the same could be expected at round two in Balclutha on Sunday.

West Auckland-based former Takaka man Hamish Harwood and Australian visitor Jed Beaton took wins in the premier MX1 class, with Mount Maunganui’s Josiah Natzke also impressive in finishing overall runner-up; Oparau’s James Scott, Australian visitor Caleb Ward and defending national MX2 champion Cody Cooper, from Opotiki, shared wins in the MX2 (250cc) class and Appleby’s Wills Harvey and Invercargill rider Seth Morrow took the wins in the 125cc class, while Bombay’s Reuben Smith was also a standout.

The senior Women’s championship, being run in conjunction with the men’s competition and, for the first time over all four rounds, saw Australian visitor Taylah McCutcheon and Raetihi’s Karaitiana Horne celebrate race victories at Rotorua.

McCutcheon has since returned home, but riders such as Rotorua’s Letitia Alabaster, Opunake’s Taylar Rampton and Rotorua’s Mel Patterson won’t be shy in stepping forward.

Motorcycling New Zealand motocross co-commissioner Sonia Cloke said she was delighted with how it all turned out at Rotorua and expects more of the same at Balclutha this Sunday.

“After a successful round one of the 2024 Yamaha New Zealand Motocross Championships three weeks ago in Rotorua, we are all excited to get down to Balclutha and some more epic racing,” said Cloke.

“The South Otago Motorcycle Club has been working tirelessly to ensure that all our sponsors, teams, volunteers and riders will be well looked after.

“We are positive that the event will be well supported and continue to provide a track that challenges our riders and provides some great competition over all our classes,” she said.

“This is the first time that senior women are included in all four rounds of the championships and to have nine entries in this class is a testament to the work that the MX Commission and the Women’s Commission have previously undertaken for women in motorcycling.”

After racing at Balclutha this weekend, the series then takes riders north again, with Pukekohe hosting round three at Harrisville, on March 23.

The fourth and final round is set for the Barrett Road facility on the outskirts of New Plymouth on April 13.

In addition to Yamaha Motor New Zealand, other key financial backers for the 2024 season include Fox, Pirelli, Alpinestars, Motomuck and Grassroots Trust, 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,

A high-resolution copy of the attached image is available for publication, for editorial use only, simply by contacting phone 027-324-0892. As regards web site use, credit for words & photo must be given to Andy McGechan and


Code No. MNZ-AM1059