ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP SET TO DRAW CROWD
The fast and the furious best of New Zealand’s off-road racing community will flock to Taranaki next month for the 2015 New Zealand ATV (all-terrain vehicle) championships.
Barrett Rd Motorcycle Park, on the outskirts of New Plymouth, has been chosen to host the two-day extravaganza on November 14-15.
Ian Ffitch is expected to travel from Christchurch with a large South Island contingent to try to defend his open class title, hoping to add that to the national Mini TT title won at Kuratau in July.
He can expect to meet fierce opposition from Stratford brothers Camo and Scott Keegan, Jack Burr (New Plymouth), Mark Goldstone (Tauranga) and Andrew Vincent (Auckland), among others.
Ffitch had the pleasure of racing near his home town of Amberley in 2014, but a home advantage swings towards the Taranaki men this time around.
Sponsored by New Plymouth company Cory’s Electrical, the racing is sure to provide sparks, particularly since the course is expected to be extremely challenging.
“It is going to be a difficult track for some riders,” said event organiser Jono Keegan. “It will be okay for the top guys, but some of the riders won’t be so confident on the steep up-hills, down-hills and the big jumps.
While much of the focus at the nationals will go on the premier grade — the open class — racing is also expected to be intense in the other categories.
Luke Etheridge (New Plymouth) was beaten only once on his way to winning the open expert grade at the nationals last year, finishing ahead of Ian Newman (Gisborne), with Daniel Cowie (Christchurch) taking third. These riders should be among the leading contenders in New Plymouth.
Sam George (Christchurch), Jack Burr (New Plymouth) and Richard McGlashen (Christchurch) were the leading riders in the 450cc production class last year. Tyla Nairn (Auckland) won four of seven races in the 250cc production class in 2014, taking the title from Taylor Graham (Christchurch) and Angus Parish (Amberley).
Trent Way (Auckland), Wade Taylor (Napier) and Canterbury quartet Jessie Lyall, Max Le Compte, Gary Doig and Lorne Kirk should also feature. There will also be races for juniors, women and mini quad riders.