The Sixth Annual Battle of the Clubs Motocross

The power base for New Zealand motocross remains in the Bay of Plenty after the weekend’s sixth annual Battle of the Clubs Motocross (BOTC) event at Taupo.

The Tauranga Motorcycle Club won Saturday’s event outright, becoming the fifth different club to take the title since the inception of the BOTC in 2010 and the fourth different club from the Bay of Plenty region, although the Nelson Motorcycle Club did threaten to spoil that party this time around.

The South Waikato Motorcycle Club won last year’s BOTC event, while previous winners were the Pukekohe Motorcycle Club (in 2010), the Rotorua MCC (in 2011) and the host Taupo MCC (2012 and 2013).

But this year it was the six-rider crew from the Tauranga club whom dominated – national MX1 champion Cody Cooper, multi-time former national champion Darryll King (veterans’ class rider), Aaron Wiltshier (MX2), Tyler Steiner (junior 250cc), Josh Tredinnick (junior 125) and Brodie Connolly (junior 85cc) all in scintillating form on the treacherous sand and pumice track.

The Nelson Motorcycle Club came closest to snatching the trophy away with its six-rider combo finishing the day within just six points of Tauranga to take the runner-up spot, while the Cambridge Motorcycle Club occupied the third step on the podium.

“All of our top riders were away racing in Australia when this event was held last year, so having Cody available this year was fantastic,” said Tauranga Motorcycle Club team manager Bridgette Tolfrey.

“Winning this event has really put the spotlight on our club and of course it’s a great honour and a thrill.”

Steiner was the best-performed individual at the event, winning both his races – leading Nelson’s Reece Walker across the line in the combined junior 250cc and 85cc race and finishing ahead of South Waikato’s Wyatt Chase in the combined junior 250ss and 125cc race.

MX1 class rider Cooper finished 2-1 in his two outings after a couple of epic battles with fellow former national MX1 champion rider Ben Townley, riding in the MX1 class for one of Taupo’s two teams on Saturday.

“It was weird actually,” said Cooper afterwards, “because we were sharing the track with a lot of riders we don’t normally race against and so it was difficult to keep the flow going when we came around to lappers. We had to get on the brakes quickly to avoid collisions.

“This event is so important as a fundraiser for us to send a squad to the Motocross des Nations in France in September, but it is quite a relaxed event too and a lot of fun.”

Cooper and Townley are both on the short-list of six riders who are being considered for the three-rider squad to France and the announcement of Team New Zealand will be made in the coming weeks.

Host Taupo Motorcycle Club president Stu Groombridge said about $10,000 was raised from the weekend, mostly from rider entry fees and donations from spectators.

“Some spectators were handing us $50 and $20 notes at the gate, which was quite remarkable. Special thanks too to Ben Townley who donated a set of Troy Lee riding apparel, which we auctioned off and raised $350 from that alone. Every little bit helps and it was great to see so many clubs getting behind this event, even ones not affiliated with Motorcycling New Zealand.”

Words and main photo by Andy McGechan –