TEENAGER LEAVES FOR EUROPEAN MOTOCROSS CAMPAIGN WITH FIRST NATIONAL TITLE UNDER HIS HELMET
James Scott found the perfect way to wave goodbye to New Zealand before his first big international motocross campaign — he won his first national title.
The 14-year-old from Oparau, near Kawhia, took his Husqvarna TC85 to six wins from seven starts, convincingly winning the 13-16 years 85cc class at the three-day New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships at Fernhill, Hastings, over Anzac Weekend.
His one “failure”, when he finished third in race four, was due to his bike’s rear tyre going flat just two laps into the race. Scott finished 27 points clear of Thomas Watt (Wairoa, Kawasaki), with Zac Jillings (Palmerston North, KTM) ending up third, another 27 points back.
Scott immediately packed his bags for Lommel, Belgium, where he will be based while he tackles the European 150cc championships.
His first race will be this weekend at Teutschenthal, near Leipzig, Germany. He races again five weeks later at Matterley Basin, near Winchester, England.
Scott’s campaign will also see him race in Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
“This is a huge deal,” said Scott. “If I can win this EMX150 championship I may earn myself a factory ride in the EMX250 series the following year.”
Scott is not the only rider from the junior nationals to head overseas, with Wyatt Chase (Taupo) to tackle the last four rounds of the European 125 championships, starting in England on June 19.
Chase’s farewell ride in Hawkes Bay was a mixed bag and showed how cruel this sport can be.
The Yamaha rider won 12 of his 14 races but wasn’t the main winner, with Trent Collins (Ohaupo, Honda) stealing the 250cc crown.
It wasn’t the first time that a rider has won the most races but not the title.
Chase dominated the two premier classes over Anzac Weekend — the 14-16 years 250cc class and the 15-16 years 125cc division — but he only won one of the categories, with luck handing the 250cc title to Collins.
Chase fried the clutch on his bike in one of the seven 250cc class races and did not finish it.
Dunedin's Grason Veitch (KTM), beaten in just one of seven races on his way to winning the 12-14 years' 125cc class at Fernhill.
Collins proved that consistency counts when he won just that one race and finished runner-up six times, enough to take the title from Chase by 12 points.
Chase was unbeatable in the 15-16 years 125cc class, winning all seven races and taking that title by a convincing 25 points from Maximus Purvis (Mangakino).
Other class winners were Grason Veitch (Dunedin, KTM, 12-14 years 125cc); Brodie Connolly (Matamata, KTM, 11-12 years 85cc) and Mitchell Weir (Tokanui, Yamaha, 8-10 years 85cc).