Hamish Harwood hunting down another Australian motocross title
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He has already won one national motocross championship title in Australia and now New Zealander Hamish Harwood wants another.
The 22-year-old from Takaka, near Nelson, was in scintillating form at the fifth round of 10 in this season's Australian Motocross Championships at Murray Bridge, in South Australia, just over a week ago.
He took his CML Racing Team KTM SX 250 to qualify fastest and he then won the day in the MX2 (250cc) class.
This has cemented the Kiwi hero into third overall in the championships standings with the series at the halfway stage.
The Australian series now takes a mid-season break before resuming at Nowra, in New South Wales, on July 2. It will wrap up at Coolum, in Queensland, on August 20.
Based in Takapuna as he completes his building apprenticeship, Harwood has again committed himself to frequent flights across the Tasman Sea this season as he tries to juggle work commitments with his training and racing at the top level of the sport in this part of the world.
He managed that in the recent past too when he commuted back and forth to eventually clinch the Australian Under-19 crown, as an 18-year-old, in the 2013 season.
Harwood is already a national champion in 2017 – he successfully defended his New Zealand MX2 (250cc) title in the New Zealand Motocross Championships in March – but he would love nothing better than to end the year as the No.1 motocross rider on both sides of the Tasman.
Harwood also finished 13th overall in the MX1 class in the 2017 New Zealand Motocross Championships and this was despite him skipping five of the series 12 MX1 (450cc) races.
While he is also doubling the workload to race the MX1 class in Australia as well this season – the only "ironman" in the Australian series to attempt this – his main focus has been on winning the MX2 trophy and he was naturally thrilled to win at Murray Bridge.
Harwood finished with a 1-3 score-card in his two MX2 races at Murray Bridge, lifting him up the championship standings to within 27 points of the current second-ranked rider, Australian Mitchell Evans.
Another Australian, Wilson Todd, leads the series, just six points ahead of Evans.
Harwood also took his KTM 450SFX to record a 23-16 score-card in his two big bike races at Murray Bridge, finishing the day 20th overall in the MX1 class.
"In the first MX1 race I was coming through the pack quite well when I got a flat rear tyre. It happened near the start of the race, about a third of the way in, so that really stuffed me up," Harwood explained.
"But it feels awesome to have won (the MX2 class) though," he said.
"This is the first overall win I’ve got this season and I’m just really happy about it – I’ve put in the work and it’s paid off.
"The last two rounds we’ve been on the podium – we’ve made a few changes and I feel that we have a better set-up.
"We’ll keep it the same for the second half of the series now, and hopefully we can keep putting it on the podium every weekend.
"There is still a bit of work to do, but there's still a long way to go too, so I'll just keep my head down and see what I can do.
"It's back to work now (for Auckland company Buxeda Construction) to pay for my trip.
"I'm pretty fortunate that I have such a great boss. He and his son are both motocross mad, so that helps. They have been very supportive of me."
Harwood is no stranger to international competition, having raced for New Zealand at the annual Motocross of Nations – the 'Olympic Games of motocross' – in Latvia in 2014 and again in Italy last year.
He is also already well known in Australia, after his Under-19 class title win there in 2013 and then his finishing runner-up in the MX2 class in Australia in 2014.