The 2024 Battle of the Clubs MX at Taupo

CAPTION: Former Kiwi international Daryl Hurley (green bike, centre), from Hawera, one for those doing his bit to help raise funds at the annual Battle of the Clubs event in Taupo on Saturday. Photo by Andy McGechan,

It was perhaps no surprise that a team including two former Motocross of Nations team riders won the day at the big annual Battle Of The Clubs motocross in Taupo on Saturday.

The Motocross of Nations (MXoN) is the pinnacle of the sport globally, often referred to as the “Olympic Games of motocross”, pitting nation against nation in an annual showdown to determine the best motocross country in the world, and the Taupo Motorcycle Club’s spin on that is to run a similar team-versus-team event as a fundraiser to help enable New Zealand to send a contingent to the MXoN each year.

The MXoN was last year staged at Ernee, in north-western France – with New Zealand’s three-rider squad finishing 14th out of the 37 countries represented – and the yet-to-be-named Kiwi contingent that will head to this year’s event, set for Winchester in England in October, will be grateful for the more than $10,000 that was raised in Taupo on Saturday.

The Battle of the Clubs (BOTC) event in Taupo at the weekend was slightly less glamourous or significant, with a family atmosphere and friendly rivalry at its core, but still vitally important in terms of helping to fund Kiwi representation on the international stage.

Instead of different countries going into motocross battle with one another, the domestic version in Taupo on Saturday featured teams aligned along club allegiances or loyalties, but that did nothing to lessen the passion or intensity of the racing and, in fact, may even have strengthened it.

The winning six-rider junior/senior team this year was the one representing the North King Country Motorcycle Club and this comprised former New Zealand MXoN team riders Maximus Purvis and James Scott, sharing duties with experienced veteran racer Joel Hansen and talented juniors Nixon and Maz Parkes, riding alongside young rising star Harry Daly.

Stand-out performances also came from several other individuals, but the runner-up team overall was the one representing the Pukekohe Motorcycle Club, with the six-rider contingent representing the Tauranga Motorcycle Club claiming the third podium position overall.

Interestingly, the mini motocross contingent representing the North King Country – with riders Otis Henrrick, Knox Gobson, Kase Legg, Deklan Burton, Reed Legg and Case Wilson waving the flag – was the best-performed team in the separate mini competition, run on the small track adjacent to the main senior/junior arena.

Motorcycling New Zealand motocross co-commissioner Stu McCulloch, from Pukekohe, working alongside fellow commissioner Sonia Cloke, from New Plymouth, said the spirit of the competition was outstanding.

“It was great to see so many of our top riders turn out to support sending a small team of people being able to head overseas and represent New Zealand,” he said.

“Right through from the mini track to the senior track, the atmosphere has been amazing. It’s a great motocross family that we have here in New Zealand.”

Taranaki’s Daryl Hurley knows a thing or two about the significance of the MXoN, having himself represented New Zealand as a rider on three memorable occasions in the past, and he raced and helped the Taranaki Motorcycle Club finish sixth overall out of 21 teams at the BOTC event on Saturday.

Hawera businessman Hurley was one of the Kiwi trio to finish third at the MXoN in Belgium in 2001.

He raced for New Zealand at the MXoN again, at Lierop in the Netherlands in 2004, with the team on that occasion finishing seventh overall. Hurley raced the MXoN once more, in the United States in 2007, but that Kiwi campaign was blighted by injury and the team was unable to qualify for the main event.

“Our team effort in 2001 was pretty cool. Getting on the podium at this event is a big deal,” said Hurley.

“I’m happy to be supporting this (BOTC) event because I know the money is going to a good cause. It’s a lot more expensive to do the MXoN now than it was back in 2001 too.

“New Zealand has always had to race the MXoN on a limited budget and it’s a lot harder for us to travel from the other side of the world. We have to loan or borrow bikes from teams in Europe because it’s too expensive to take our own bikes with us.

“The level and intensity of racing at the MXoN is like nothing else really.

“I know first-hand what goes into racing at that event. The United States and France and Italy … they all want to be the No.1 in the world at this event. It’s massive and a huge thing for New Zealand to have a presence too.

“I’ll be rooting for the Kiwi team that goes to the UK this year. I’ll pay for a streaming subscription and watch from home, as I tend to do these days.”

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

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Code No. MNZ-AM1081