Junior Motocross titles go to the Max
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Maximus Purvis lived up to his name at this season's New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships in Taranaki; a maximum performance of 10 wins from 10 starts over the weekend propelling him to two national crowns.
The senior ranks now beckon him, as well as some overseas adventures.
The Yamaha hero from the Bay of Plenty topped both of the premier categories at the Un4seen Decals-sponsored event in Taranaki just over a week ago, finishing unbeaten in the glamour 14-16 years 250cc class and also in the most senior of the 125cc divisions, for riders aged 15-16 years.
The 16-year-old, now out of school and working as a digger driver, showed he was excellent at shifting soil on a race track, too when he won 10 races from 10 starts over the nationals weekend, emerging as the stand-out individual at this two-day event.
He had finished runner-up to Taupo's Wyatt Chase (Yamaha) in the 15-16 years' 125cc class at the corresponding event last season, but, with Chase soon after graduating to the senior ranks, the way was clear for Purvis to take charge.
His win in the 250cc class was perhaps the most impressive, humbling Ohaupo's defending champion Trent Collins (Honda) in each of the races and snatching the title by a comprehensive 15 points from Collins.
So dominant was Purvis in both categories that he needed only to finish seventh or better in his final race in each class to claim the two titles.
Purvis turns 17 in September and, as the rules demand, he will now move to the senior ranks. He also has his eyes set on tackling the under-19 championships in Australia in the coming weeks. The MXD (MX Development) Under-19 championship series has already begun in Australia, so Purvis will have no chance of winning it this year, but it will still be ideal for him "just to dip toes in the water across the Tasman".
He had earlier been keen to tackle the 125cc class in the senior New Zealand Motocross Championships in February and March, but a crash during training, just before the kick-off of that series, ruled him out.
"My fitness is great again and so riding two classes (at the junior nationals in Taranaki) wasn't a problem for me," said Purvis.
"I came here prepared for racing two bikes -- the Yamaha YZ250F and the YZ125 -- in the two classes and it all worked out for me in the end."
His comeback from injury alone was impressive ... but even more so considering he had collected his two bikes only a few days before the event.
Taking the stock-standard bikes on a quick ride around a paddock near his home was all the preparation Purvis required.
It was a similar story in the 12-14 years 125cc class, where Dunedin's Grason Veitch (KTM) was unbeaten in his five races, and, in the 13-16 years 85cc class too, where Matamata's Brodie Connolly (KTM) won his five races to claim that title.
The only categories where there was any doubt as to where the titles would end up were the 11-12 years 85cc class, where Rongotea's Seth Henson had to weather a storm of attacks from Rangiora's Cobie Bourke and Oparau's Hunter Scott before he could take the title, and the 8-10 years' 85cc class, where Taranaki's Katriel Jones came on strong on day two of racing to snatch the title away from early championship leader Cole Davies of Waitoki, and consistent scorer Kobe Thoms of Leeston.
From Ngaere, near Stratford, 10-year-old Jones was unheralded before the start of this event, having been sidelined with injury last season. He took the spotlight on day two when he won all three races and rocketed past pre-event favourite Davies to claim his first major trophy.