It was a week late, but the penultimate round of the 2018 NZ MX Nationals was finally held, after being cancelled – no, postponed – for a week. The decision to postpone the event came after torrential downpours, and the flooding that came with it, seeing the third round of the New Zealand Motocross Championship pushed to the following Saturday of March 17.
The roads weren’t the only things open on the new date, as the clouds also did the same, seeing some brief showers that eventually became downpours. But the racing went ahead, as motocross races tend to do, thanks in part to the Hawke’s Bay Motorcycle Club putting in the extra work to make sure the race schedule was completed. There were delays, but all the races were completed, and those in the championship hunt earned the points needed to tighten up the standings.
In the premier championship class, it was points leader Kayne Lamont that came out swinging, taking the first race win for the day. But, just like the weather, the day didn't get better for the Workshop Graphics-supported Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing rider. In the second race, Lamont managed a fifth in less than ideal conditions, and just squeezed into the top ten in the final race. The 1-5-10 finishes saw him sixth overall, finishing just behind his main rival for the season, Cody Cooper.
For “Coops”, the defending champ, the day was the reverse of Lamont’s. It saw the Workshop Graphics-sponsored Honda Racing Team rider crossing the line in fifth in Race 1, and ninth in Race 2. But he rounded out the day, and upped his overall, by winning the third and final MX1 race. With one round to go, made up of three races, both Lamont and Coops are still in the hunt for the title. That should see almost everything left on the track at Digger McEwen Motocross Park.
In the second MX1 race, John Phillips took the win, with the Honda Racing Team rider putting in an epic ride in some epic mud and ruts. His 9-1-3 results gave him second overall for the day, seeing him move into fifth in the championship.
As has been reported, despite the MX1 considered the premier class in New Zealand moto, some of the best racing has been in MX2. The third round at Ngaruroro Raceway was no different, with some new talent on the podium, including Honda Racing Team’s Trent Collins. The former junior hotshot has quickly established himself in the senior ranks, going 6-9-2 on his Workshop-supported CRF250R, and ending the day in fifth.
Along with racing MX1, Kea Suzuki Racing’s Brad Groombridge was on the pace in MX2, despite double classing in the mud and having to race another event to defend his NZ Cross Country title on the following day. He squeezed every pony out of his Workshop-supported RM-Z250L8 to go 3-4-5, enough to see him finish on the podium, yet again, keeping him in second overall in the New Zealand MX2 Championship.
After the previous round in Rotorua, Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing’s Jay Wilson was third in the championship, but that all changed after an eventful day in Hawke’s Bay. Despite putting in an epic ride, which saw him leading one race, Wilson’s Yamaha YZ250F stopped before the chequers, as did his race and hopes for the day.
For Maximus Purvis, the third round in Hastings looked to be a repeat of the first two rounds in the National 125cc class, where he swept all three races at each stop. But he came undone in the third and final race for the day in Hawke’s Bay, finishing second. While the young racer was hoping for another sweep, that was still more than enough to give the Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing rookie the overall and keep his title lead.
Due to the postponement of Round 3, the New Zealand moto elite only have one week to prepare for the fourth and final round of the NZ MX Nationals. For 2018, the finale is being held at Digger McEwen Motocross Park, a track that always leads to great racing. As always, if you can’t make it to Digger, you can catch all the action on the Workshop Graphics-supported live stream that begins at 10.15am on Saturday, March 24.