The opening race meeting for the 2018/2019 motocross season got off to a brilliant start for the Altherm JCR Yamaha riders, with Kayne Lamont emerging victorious in the MX1 class and Maximus Purvis taking home the MX2 trophy at the Huka Honda MX Fest on the weekend.
The pair capped off their top category results by Lamont (25) repeating his 2017 Nicky Smith Memorial feature win in the afternoon and Purvis (18) finishing the best of the MX2 riders in this shootout-style race at Taupo’s Digger McEwen Motorcycle Park.
Lamont summed up the way their four races panned out on their new 2019 Yamahas perfectly.
“The blue bikes went well that’s for sure.”
Before the weekend, he didn’t know how he would perform, having had minimal time on the bike recently due to recovering from an injured wrist.
“The bike [Yamaha YZ450] is awesome. I couldn’t fault it in any way. I wasn’t expecting to win. I was expecting to show some sort of promise.”
Lamont did much more than just hint at success-to-come this season. He qualified first and went on to progressively work his way up the podium over the day with 3-2-1-1 results.
In the first outing, he took the lead but had a moment and Rhys Carter got past him. Coming back onto the track, Lamont hit a tyre and damaged his brakes, leaving him to manage without any stopping power for the final two laps.
“I managed to salvage a third,” Hamilton-based Lamont says.
The second race he got a good start and was running third behind Carter and Ben Townley. Lamont managed to get past Carter but couldn’t bridge the gap to Townley and settled for second.
Grabbing the holeshot in the third race, Lamont relinquished the lead to Carter and then sat on his tail, passing him with two corners to go.
The Nicky Smith Memorial race saw the top 40 riders for the weekend do three laps, before the field was halved for a further two laps. Then it was down to 10 for a lap, 6 for a lap and then the final 3 for a lap.
Lamont says his strategy of saving his energy for when it counted throughout the shootout paid off and he was stoked to back up his 2017 win in this race.
Purvis, who was riding a Yamaha YZ250F, was on the podium for his first and third race with a mistake in the middle race dropping him down to sixth. The 2-6-1 score card was good enough for the MX2 win, which was the young Mangakino rider’s goal all along.
“We had our mistakes and there’s things I need to work on but all and all it was a good day,” Purvis says.
He was proud of his feature race performance, where he made it down to the final six riders – narrowly missing out on the top three – despite being on a less powerful 250cc machine, compared to his rival’s 450cc bikes.
Altherm JCR Yamaha Team Manager Josh Coppins was very pleased with the way this first hit-out meeting went.
“It was pretty successful from Altherm JCR Yamaha’s point of view. I was super happy with Kayne because he’s come back a long lay-off from injury and he rode really smart. Max made some mistakes, which was disappointing. When he finished sixth, it was because he was passing for the lead and crashed. It was a rookie move and he’s not a rookie. Despite this, he rode well for the rest of the day,” Coppins says.
The whole Altherm JCR Yamaha team set-up got a good trial run over the weekend and Coppins was “really happy with the bikes, the team, and the staff.”
“We are off to a good start. We definitely can improve on some things but overall I’m super-happy.”
PHOTOS CREDIT: PHIL SMITH