Dominant performances in round one mean a handful of riders have established themselves as likely winners of this year’s North Island Motocross Championship series.
These include Brad Groombridge (Taupo), Scotty Canham (Rotorua), Kurtis Lilly (Karaka), Tony Cvitanovich (Feilding), Wyatt Chase (Taupo), Maximus Purvis (Mangakino), James Scott (Oparau), Brodie Connolly (Matamata) and Rhys Jillings (Rongotea).
They should not rest on their laurels because there is still everything to ride for at the second and final round at Ngaruroro Raceway, the Hawkes Bay Motorcycle Club’s course near Hastings, this weekend.
The rider with most at stake is Cvitanovich, the leader at the opening round near Himatangi last month.
The 15-year-old took his KTM 250SXF and KTM 125 bikes into battle. Although he was the busiest rider at the event and scored more wins than anyone else, he was perhaps unlucky that he did not win all three classes he entered.
He did do remarkably well, winning one class, sharing first in another and winding up a close second in the third category.
Of the nine races he tackled, he won five and twice finished runner-up, dominating the junior 14-16 years’ 250cc class, finishing first equal in the senior 125cc class and settling for runner-up spot, behind Chase (Yamaha YZ125) in the junior 15-16 years’ 125cc class.
Cvitanovich was unbeaten in the junior 250cc class and lodged a 2-1-8 scoreline in the senior 125cc class, level with Lilly (Husqvarna TC125).
Ben Broad (Ngatea, KTM 125) was another rider to go “double-dipping”. He finished a close third in the senior 125cc class with a 1-13-1 scoreline as well as third in the junior 15-16 years’ 125cc class, this time with a 2-2-5 scoreline. He is also a contender for a class win in either or both divisions this weekend.
Chase was another to impress at Himatangi and he’ll most likely be a frontrunner again in Hawkes Bay as he builds up to cross the Tasman for the Australian Junior Motocross Championships near Perth in October.
Just turned 16, Chase finished 3-1-1 in his three junior 15-16 years’ 125cc class races at Himatangi, enough to edge local favourite Cvitanovich.
“The Aussie nationals go for a whole week and I’ve been building up for that,” said Chase, a Year 11 pupil at Tauhara College, Taupo.
Chase, Cvitanovich and Broad are expected to again go head-to-head in the 15-16 years’ 125cc class this weekend, while Cvitanovich knows he’ll possibly need a little luck if he’s going to beat Tyler Steiner (Te Puke) and Camden Butler (Masterton) to the top step of the podium in the junior 14-16 years’ 250cc category.
Top locals expected to excel include Luka Freemantle, Ollie Ayre, cross-country racing hero Reece Lister, Taradale quartet Rhys Wheatley, Dougal Morice, Hamish McIntyre and Scott Bentley and Hastings riders Hadleigh Griffiths, Troy Newton, Matt Crothers, Tom Robottom and Luke McGrath, although dozens of top-grade riders are expected to challenge them.
As with round one, this weekend’s racing will feature junior racing on Saturday and veteran, women and support classes alongside top-level racing on Sunday.