It could be time for a shake-up as the 2019 New Zealand Cross Country Championships race towards the halfway stage in the South Island this weekend.

Hosted by the Mosgiel District Motorcycle Club, the second round of four in this season’s New Zealand Cross Country Championships will see the nation’s dirt bike elite converge on Scorgie’s property, Lee Stream, on Sunday. The venue will be signposted from Outram. 

After a close and exciting series opener near Norsewood in February, riders have had time to recoup and recover, prepare their bikes and plan their attack for Mosgiel and the championship is still wide open.

Outright senior grade winner at Norsewood was Raglan’s Jason Dickey, with Glen Murray rider Sam’ Charlie’ Brown finishing runner-up that day.

Taupo’s Defending national cross country champion Brad Groombridge made a thrilling charge through the field at Norsewood to claim third overall, but he has since been consigned to the sideline with injury and not expected to make the trip to Mosgiel on Sunday.

That leaves the way clear for riders such as Whanganui’s Seth Reardon, Raglan’s Brandon Given, Rotorua’s Ethan Harris, Cambridge’s Callum Paterson or Hamilton’s Caleb Richardson to take advantage, not to mention the many South Island stars of the sport who will no doubt plan to make the most of racing on home turf, riders such as Jesse Wight, James Dickson or Ryan Crawford, to name a few.

Taupo’s Nathan Tesselaar was in hot form at Norsewood and he too could be a feature in the main race this Sunday and so should Hamilton’s Phil Goodwright, third overall in the nationals last year and making his return from injury this weekend.

Perhaps local motocross hero Sam Cuthbertson will take the opportunity for snatch some national cross-country glory with an appearance on Sunday.

The three-hour senior race will be preceded by a 90-minute junior race on Sunday and riders to watch out for here include round one winner Coby Rooks, from Raglan, his nearest rival Bryn Codd, from Napier, and Eltham’s defending national junior champion Adam Loveridge, along with South Island hotshots Katie Henery, Alex Gilchrist and Leo Clarke. 

Motorcycling New Zealand cross country commissioner Chris Smyth said the venue had been used before and should be “reasonably fast and open”.

“There may be some swampy patches to watch out for and plenty of tussock too. It should be a great track. Everybody seemed to enjoy it last year. With Brad Groombridge, and (Wairoa’s) Reece Lister too, dropping out with injury, it opens it up a bit for some of the other riders. I expect the points table will look quite different after this weekend. There are a lot of strong riders lining up on Sunday and anything can still happen.”

Only three of the four rounds are to be counted, with riders to discard their worst result of the four, making sure the championship will be tight until the finish.

The series is supported by The Dirt Guide, Oakley goggles, Bel Ray oils and Michelin tyres.

NZ Cross Country Championships calendar 2019:

Round One: Sunday, February 10 – Central Hawke’s Bay MCC
Round Two: Sunday, March 24 – Mosgiel District MCC
Round Three: Sunday, April 14 – Marlborough MCC
Round Four: Saturday May 25 – Taupo MCC

Glen Murray’s Sam ‘Charlie’ Brown (KTM), runner-up at round one and expected to again be among the front-runners on Sunday.

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan

It seems that history does repeat for Helensville dirt bike ace Tom Buxton.

The 2019 Yamaha-sponsored New Zealand Enduro Championships kicked off in the Thames-Coromandel District at the weekend with Buxton shining out among the talent-packed field on the premier AA course.

The 20-year-old won the corresponding opening round of the enduro nationals at this venue last season too and his victory at Whangamata on Saturday had all the same hallmarks of that, Buxton this time crossing the finish line a solid 28 seconds ahead of runner-up rider Dylan Yearbury, of Cambridge.

It was another impressive performance from Buxton, the young man in only his fifth season in the top grade of competition, but it’s early days for the series and still anybody’s guess as to who might win the title this year, with six more rounds still to be run.

One thing probably is certain though, there will be a different national enduro champion this season with last year’s eventual outright winner, Taupo’s Brad Groombridge, currently sidelined with injury and therefore a non-starter on Saturday.

However, there are still plenty of highly-skilled individuals capable of winning the crown in 2019.

Third overall in the Taungatara Forest, just north of Whangamata, on Saturday was Thames rider Jason Davis, the former national enduro champion back from retirement, with another former champion, Glen Eden’s Chris Birch, finishing fourth and Whanganui’s Seth Reardon rounding out the top five.

Leading riders on the A course on Saturday were Tokoroa’s Jake Wightman, Thames rider Natasha Cairns, Te Hauautu’s Elliot ‘Superman’ Kent, Masterton’s Philip Bly and Putaruru’s Phil Skinner. 

It’s interesting to note that Buxton’s dad, John Buxton, finished sixth overall in the A Grade on Saturday, the sport obviously a real family affair for them.

“It was a fantastic day of racing and was very well run by the Thames Valley Motorcycle Club,” said Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Justin Stevenson. “It was great to see top championship riders from the past, men such as Jason Davis, Chris Birch and Elliot Kent, in action again. The conditions for riding were perfect and this event has a great reputation, probably contributing to their decision to show up.”

The Yamaha and Mitas tyres-sponsored series will head down to the Kapiti Coast for round two on April 6.

The 2019 Yamaha NZ Enduro Championships are supported by Mitas Tyres, Macaulay Metals, Best Build Construction, Silver-bullet, Dirt Rider Downunder magazine and Moto Events NZ.

2019 Yamaha NZ Enduro Champs calendar:

Round 1 – Saturday, March 16 – Thames
Round 2 – Saturday, April 6 – Kapiti 
Round 3 – Saturday, April 20 – South Waikato
Round 4 – Sunday, June 9 – Martinborough
Round 5 – Saturday, June 29 – Bideford, Masterton
Round 6 – Friday, July 19 – Hokitika, Westland
Round 7 – Saturday, July 20 – Hokitika, Westland

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan

Helensville’s Tom Buxton (KTM 350EXC-F), top man at the opening round of the New Zealand Enduro Championships near Whangamata on Saturday.

The 2019 New Zealand Enduro Championships kick off in the Thames-Coromandel District this weekend and it’s anybody’s guess as to who might win.

Boosted from five to seven rounds this season, the Yamaha and Mitas tyres-sponsored series will take riders from round one at Whangamata in the north this Saturday, to round seven at Hokitika in the south, each offering extreme and varied terrain challenges for the riders.

But, difficult landscape aside, it is the talent of the riders and the reliability of their bikes that will determine who finishes on top when the final round wraps it all up in July.

One thing is almost certain … a new outright champion will be crowned in 2019.

Taupo’s defending national enduro champion Brad Groombridge injured himself while racing at the final round of the New Zealand Motocross Championships in Taupo last weekend, ruling him out of action this coming Saturday and possibly for longer than that too.

But there are plenty of talented riders who are capable of stepping forward.

Wainuiomata’s Jake Whitaker and Helensville’s Tom Buxton could be expected to battle near the head of the field on Saturday, while young guns such as just-turned 21-year-old Seth Reardon, of Whanganui, and Blake Wilkins, of Whitianga, will certainly keep them honest.

Whangamata’s Jason Davis returns to the race scene after several years away from the sport to raise a family and the former national champion is sure to be a contender this weekend, especially on home turf.

Others to watch out for include Thames rider Natasha Cairns, Taumarunui’s Cody Davey, Eketahuna’s Charlie Richardson, Tokoroa’s Jake Wightman, Rotorua’s Bradley Lauder, Cambridge’s Dylan Yearbury, Taupo’s Nathan Tesselaar, Rotorua’s Ethan Harris, Cambridge’s Ashton Grey, New Plymouth’s Tony Parker and perhaps even cross-country ace Sam ‘Charlie’ Brown, from Glen Murray.

“It will be exciting to see Jason Davis back in action. It’s always a thrill to see him in action,” said Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Justin Stevenson. “The racing will be a good test of man and machine and will cater for all abilities. The venue at Whangamata is one of the most popular on the calendar, sure to attract a large number of entries.”

The venue for Saturday’s racing is the Taungatara Forest, off State Highway 25, between Whangamata and Hikuai. The Taungatara Forest is about 10 minutes’ drive north of Whangamata and racing starts at about 10am.

There are 15 classes in total to cater for everyone, including two non-championship intro trail rider classes, and only six rounds count, with riders to discard points from their worst round.

The terrain is mostly clear-felled tree areas and virgin clay and ash-based forestry tracks. The national championship riders will be doing three loops of just under 50 kilometres and comprising five terrain tests. The intro trail riders will be doing two shorter loops with two terrain tests (not timed).

The 2019 Yamaha NZ Enduro Championships are supported by Mitas tyres Macaulay Metals, Best Build Construction, Silver-bullet, Dirt Rider Downunder magazine and Moto Events NZ.

2019 Yamaha NZ Enduro Champs calendar:

Round 1 – Saturday, March 16 – Thames
Round 2 – Saturday, April 6 – Kapiti 
Round 3 – Saturday, April 20 – South Waikato
Round 4 – Sunday, June 9 – Martinborough
Round 5 – Saturday, June 29 – Bideford, Masterton
Round 6 – Friday, July 19 – Hokitika, Westland
Round 7 – Saturday, July 20 – Hokitika, Westland

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan

Whanganui’s Seth Reardon (Yamaha), possibly one rider to watch out for at Whangamata this weekend.

The name ‘Leatt’ is well known in the motorcycling community, as they are the go-to when it comes to top quality protective gear. Their company, Leatt Protectives, is based around designing, developing, and producing protective equipment for two-wheeled enthusiasts.

Founded in 2001 by Dr Chris Leatt, who also heads up the R&D Department to ensure every single product with the Leatt brand is “Backed By Science” with the ultimate mission of saving lives. Their range includes protective devices for the whole body, and now they have turned their attention to eye protection as well.

The Leatt Velocity 6.5 Goggles utilise military spec 2.7mm bulletproof lens technology, including:

  • 170° Wide vision
  • Dual layer Anti-fog
  • Scratch resistant coating
  • Optically correct tapered thickness
  • Quick release feature
  • Tear-Off posts & 48mm Roll-Off ready

Leatt’s transition into eye protection is a welcomed one boasting a flawless design that includes an OTG (over the glasses) design, super simple lens installation and removal along with a bulletproof military spec lens. The 6.5 Velocity goggles are available in four Iriz (mirrored lens) designs, a further six standard lens designs and two roll-off included designs. If you favour a particular frame design but want a roll-off or Iriz lens for it, don’t panic, all replacement lenses and roll-off kits are compatible with every Leatt goggle, both present and future.

The lens surpasses expectations, the 2.7mm bulletproof military spec lens prevents sticks, stones and other debris potentially penetrating the goggles. While the dual lens design provides a thermal bridge between the warm inside and cold outside of the goggles, combined with the anti-fog polymer of the inner lens the goggles permanently prevent fogging in a variety of conditions. Posts are included as standard on all lens options enabling the use of tear-offs and the widevision 48mm roll-off system. Constructed with a tapered thickness the lens provides great optical correction, allowing you to identify the edge of ruts with ease while a scratch resistant outer coating ensures the lens maintains a high life expectancy even in the demanding environment of off-road motorcycling.

Innovation doesn’t stop there, the Velocity’s frame has also received its fair share of industry-leading technology. The frame is constructed with a dual-density design allowing the outer frame to retain its shape allowing for quick and easy lens fitting while also keeping the lens fixed upon impact. The inner frame is more flexible which enables the goggle to better replicate your facial structure improving the fit, face and nose sealing and increasing general comfort.

Available separately are three Iriz lenses along with another three standard lenses. The Iriz lenses are available in platinum (Ultra Contrast), purple and bronze while the standard lenses are available in clear, light grey, blue and smoke. Visual Light Transmission (VLT) across the six lens options ranges from 22% to 83% ensuring you have the perfect lens available for every track and weather condition. All Iriz lenses are mirrored to reduce the light transmitted for a more comfortable experience in the brightest conditions, select lenses include Leatts Ultra Contrast technology which defines edges for an incredibly detailed view of the track or trail. An incredible 170-degree field of vision allows for excellent peripheral vision so you can keep your eye on the track and competitors edging up alongside you all at the same time.

The Velocity 6.5s include a triple-layer dual-density foam which is designed to be soft on the face while providing the perfect seal to prevent dust entering the goggles. The excellent foam design also prevents the frame and lens hitting your face upon impact and includes an anti-sweat fleece backing that stops sweat dripping from your forehead down into your eyes.

But wait, there’s more! Along with an innovative frame design, military spec lens, excellent field of view and an impressive range of lenses available the goggles also have dual outriggers with easy release lens capability that improve the goggles fit within your helmet. A 50mm anti-slip strap keeps your goggles in place and won’t slip down and slap the back of your neck while a removable nose guard provides extra protection when wanted. The goggles also take pride in their OTG (over the glasses) design that enables prescription eyewear to be worn while riding, because there’s nothing better at improving your vision than your tailored prescription lenses. The self-draining design provokes water and mud to drain downwards and off the goggles improving vision in unfavourable conditions…

…but if you want the best and clearest vision available when out mud-blasting Leatts widevision 48mm roll-off kit is for you. Two goggles are available including the kit, however, through spare parts the kit can be acquired for and is compatible with any Leatt goggle. The roll-off kit includes oversized canisters that won’t fill before your film has run dry while the electrostatic treated film is non-stick helping to remove dirt and mud while riding. A hydrophobic coating enables the film to slide like hot butter across the lens.

The incorporation of different technologies and lens options along with removable and customisable parts make the Leatt Velocity 6.5 goggles perfect for you whether you’re a motocross master, enduro champion, dual sport adventurer or weekend warrior. The Velocity 6.5 goggles provide the ultimate eye protection and set the bar of what a premium off-road goggle should include while remaining at an affordable price, goggles from $149.00 with coloured lenses available from $28.00 (clear lens $19.00).

Shop online at Bits4Bikes or visit your local Leatt Stockist

The 2019 edition of the Daytona Supercross, held at the iconic Daytona International Speedway, is a race that Team Honda HRC would like to put behind them, as both Ken Roczen and Cole Seely were involved in the same second-turn crash, leaving them both fighting for position.

When the gate dropped on the night’s main event, Roczen and Seely both got decent jumps down the start straight. As the field careened into the second turn, another rider got sideways, ultimately hitting Roczen and starting a chain reaction that would lead to both Roczen and Seely going down. Both riders remounted their CRF450R race machines at the back of the pack and went into salvage mode to regain as many positions as possible. The German was able to maneuver his way through the field more successfully, working his way into 10th by lap six. He continued his charge forward, making his way into eighth by the checkered flag. Seely also fought for positions but struggled to maintain his pace toward the end of the 20-minute-plus-one-lap race, settling for 13th.

Ken Roczen  94

“I’m definitely disappointed in tonight’s result; it’s my worst of the season. I think for the most part the day went well, and I was feeling really good on the bike. Unfortunately, in the main event, there was a pileup in the first turn and I got caught between my bike and Cole’s and couldn’t get up. Once I was up, I did my best to make up as many positions as I could during the race, making my way into eighth—not what I wanted and we’re now also down in the points standings, but there are still seven rounds to go. I’m going to set my eyes forward and bounce back in Indianapolis.”

Cole Seely  14

“The first turn was a really weird setup in my opinion. It reminded me a lot of the GPs, where everyone just lines up to the inside and then files to the outside. We all went into the second turn and I tried to tuck underneath Kenny and Cooper [Webb], but Chad [Reed] came across into Ken, which then pushed him into me. I was actually trying to get Kenny up because the first thing I thought of was him getting burned by my header on the right side, plus obviously I needed to get up too. He got up and going pretty quick but my bike was buried so it took me a minute to get going. It was just super-unfortunate. I’m struggling right now and it’s tough to have so many bad-luck weekends and not get the results that I know I can and should have. I’ve just got to shake this one off too and put my mind forward.”

Erik Kehoe

Team Manager

“It was a challenging night results-wise, but I do think there are positives to take away from today, as both guys showed a lot of speed while on-track. Cole rode well in his heat and that really should’ve been his heat to win; unfortunately, those guys got by him with one turn left. Ken also put together some really strong laps throughout the main event, while he was working his way forward. There were about two or three separate laps in the middle, where he was the fastest guy on the track or at least matching the pace of the leaders, so speed-wise he was right there. It’s unfortunate he couldn’t be up there running with them, fighting for a podium and the win. When you give yourself a deficit like crashing on the first lap on a course like this, it’s really hard to come back from it. With Cole we’re still working on his confidence. I think he just needs to believe in himself and that he deserves to be up front and is one of the guys that should be running up front. We’re working with him on that, and Trey [Canard] has been a big help because he’s been in this situation before.”

Oscar Wirdeman

Mechanic (Ken Roczen)

“It’s a bummer the day ended the way that it did. Ken was really happy with his bike and we barely changed anything all day—maybe just a click or two to dial things in but that’s it. He qualified strong in second and was looking very smooth and comfortable. His start wasn’t great in the heat but he snuck to the inside and got into second. He closed in on Eli [Tomac] a few times but kept making a bunch of mistakes, so he couldn’t ever try to go for the pass. In the main, he didn’t get the greatest start again, but he was on the inside so could’ve made it work to his advantage.”

Jordan Troxell

Mechanic (Cole Seely)

“I think everyone kind of approaches Daytona in a similar way. Every year before this race we go build some sort of replica track to get the riders used to the sandy soil and maybe come up with a few new settings but they’re normally really close to what we traditionally run at any other race. During practice today we made some small changes to fine tune things, settling the bike down in the moguls and a few other areas. After that he didn’t really touch the bike for the rest of the day and was pretty happy. The main was a challenge; I’m not sure exactly what happened but I know Cole and Ken both went down and from there that set the tone for the rest of the race.”

450SX Rider Standings 

(Limited to top 20 riders)

1WEBB Cooper2USA222Red Bull KTM KTM
2TOMAC Eli3USA203Monster Energy KawasakiKawasaki
3MUSQUIN Marvin25FRA203Red Bull KTM KTM
4ROCZEN Ken94GER201Team Honda HRCHonda
6WILSON Dean15GBR149Rockstar HusqvarnaHusqvarna
7REED Chad22AUS137Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory RacingSuzuki
8BRAYTON Justin10USA127Smartop MotoConcepts RacingHonda
9SAVATGY Joey17USA124Monster Energy KawasakiKawasaki
10PLESSINGER Aaron7USA123Monster Energy/ Knick/ Factory Yamaha TeamYamaha
11BARCIA Justin51USA120Monster Energy/ Knick/ Factory Yamaha TeamYamaha
12SEELY Cole14USA117Team Honda HRCHonda
13BOGLE Justin19USA88RCH RacingSuzuki
14HILL Justin46USA87Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory RacingSuzuki
15BOWERS Tyler69USA69Bowers RacingKawasaki
16FRIESE Vince45USA65Smartop MotoConcepts RacingHonda
17CHISHOLM Kyle11USA57Chisholm RacingKawasaki
18LAMAY RacingHonda
19ANDERSON Jason21USA46Rockstar HusqvarnaHusqvarna
20RAY AlexUSA33Cycle Trader Rock River YamahaYamaha

Words and Photos: Honda Racing Corporation