Ngatea motocross racer Ben Broad had the weekend of his life in Te Kuiti, winning a national title and an award for sportsmanship.
The teenager last month wound up his campaign in the NZ Senior Motocross Championships, finishing third behind CMR Red Bull KTM teammate Josiah Natzke and Taupo Yamaha rider Cohen Chase.
But at 16, Broad was still eligible to race in the junior national championships. He showed up at the spectacular circuit with two bikes, a four-stroke KTM 250SXF and a two-stroke KTM 125SX, determined to win his first junior motocross title.
He finished third and second in the first two 15-16 years 125cc class races but tangled with another rider in the third race of five. The other rider’s arm became wedged in Broad’s rear wheel. A track marshal let the air out of Broad’s tyre so the arm could be freed. With his tyre flat, Broad’s race was over.
Broad was later given an Encounter Sportsmanship Award because he turned down the event committee’s offer of extra points over the incident.
He finished fourth in the next 125cc race, but realised the episode had ruined any chance of an overall podium finish and decided to abandon his 125cc campaign to concentrate on the premier 250cc title.
Broad posted 2-1-7-1 results for the first four races while his main rival, Cambridge Honda rider Trent Collins, had a 3-2-1-2 scorecard.
Cambridge's Trent Collins (The Honda Shop Racing Team CRF250), beaten into second place by the narrowest of margins. Picture by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com.
That meant three points separated Collins and Broad as the riders lined up for their last would take the title.
Broad led from start to finish and Collins was fourth for much of the race. But, with only a couple of laps remaining, Collins passed the riders ahead of him and set off after Broad.
With Broad clocking lap times 2secs quicker than Collins, the Cambridge man had to hope Broad might make a mistake. He didn’t. He won by 7s, meaning the two ended the championships level on points. Broad was awarded the overall win under the countback rule.
With his first national title and a sportsmanship award to go with it, the Hauraki Plains College pupil certainly had a weekend to be proud of.
“After my crash and finishing seventh in that 250cc race on Saturday, I didn’t think it would be possible to recover and win the title,” said Broad. “I lay on the track, winded, for quite some time.
“I was six points behind Trent at the start of Sunday and I just had to win both the 250cc races to get the title. It was that simple.
“Those last couple of laps seemed the longest of my life.”
Reece Walker (Nelson) recorded 5-4-3-4-4 results and took third step on the podium, finishing one point ahead of Steiner. Steiner won the first race of the weekend and followed that with 5-4-7-5 results.
Other class winners were Wyatt Chase (Taupo, 15-16 years 125cc), Bailey Banks (Reefton, 12-14 years 125cc), Maximus Purvis (Mangakino, 13-16 years 85cc), Grason Veitch (Dunedin, 11-12 years 85cc), Cobie Bourke (Kaiapoi, 8-10 years 85cc) and Luka Freemantle (Napier, 8-11 years 65cc).