The big annual New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville will again enjoy elevated status in 2019.

Already considered the biggest and most prestigious motocross event on the Kiwi race calendar, the Woodville GP was recognised as an FIM Oceania event for the first time last season, in January this year, and the success of that means it will again host the FIM Oceania Trans Tasman Challenge at next year’s 58th annual running on January 26 and 27. The spectacular two-day event at Woodville has always attracted huge interest from overseas, but the 2019 Honda-sponsored New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville, in just eight weeks’ time, is again enhanced as a true international competition.

The FIM Oceania Challenge includes competition for both junior and senior riders, with many of Australia’s finest expected to arrive and all of them determined to hammer their Kiwi counterparts. Participating riders from Australia and New Zealand have yet to be confirmed, but there is no shortage of willing candidates keen to lock horns in this inspired trans-Tasman showdown. The Australian will no doubt be seeking revenge after losing out to the New Zealand riders last season.

New Zealand’s chances of winning the FIM Oceania Challenge looked doubtful after the first day of racing at the 2018 edition of the Woodville GP, but a huge fight-back on day two turned it all around. The Australian contingent had the early advantage – leading by 410 points to 368 – after the junior phase of racing on the Saturday, but the senior Kiwis came on strong the following day and rescued the situation. New Zealand eventually won the 2018 FIM Oceania Challenge by 886 points to 829, with Auckland rider Hamish Harwood the main Kiwi aggressor.

It was certainly a talent-packed Australian contingent that arrived at Woodville in January this year – Kirk Gibbs, Jay Wilson, Cooper Pozniak, Mason Semmens, Bailey Malkiewicz, Tyler Darby, Jay Conforto and Australian national women’s champion Maddie Brown among them – and a similarly-potent Australian assault can be expected in 2019.

The Manawatu Orion Motorcycle Club (MOMCC) has hosted the Woodville GP every year since its inception in 1961 and is proud to again be chosen to stage this FIM Oceania competition.

MOMCC president Brett Wistrand said he wanted to thank FIM Oceania for giving the Manawatu Orion Motorcycle Club this opportunity again.

“We want to give the crowd great entertainment, something they can really get behind and there really is nothing better than the sporting rivalry that exists between Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

Racing over the two days at Woodville caters for minis, juniors, women and veteran racers, with the novelty river race on Sunday also a major crowd-pleaser.

 

Credit: Words and photos by Andy McGechan

It was an opportunity too good to miss and 10 young Kiwi riders accepted the challenge on Saturday night. Mt Smart Stadium in Penrose was packed almost to capacity for the inaugural S-X Open Auckland supercross on Saturday and while the more than 21,000 noisy race fans in attendance were thrilled to be there to witness the inimitable spectacle of international supercross action, it was perhaps the 10 young Kiwis who had signed up to accept the 2018 KTM Junior Supercross Challenge who expressed the most joy.

For the first time in New Zealand, KTM was able to offer the KTM Junior Supercross Challenge (KJSC), a unique opportunity for aspiring young riders to experience the life of a professional supercross rider for a day. They were each provided with a factory-prepared KTM 50SX bike for the day, equipped with KTM PowerParts. The riders were given a KTM PowerWear Pack to keep, which included riding jersey, pants, gloves and goggles. They had two practice sessions on the supercross track and one exhibition race, each outing cheered on by the appreciative crowd.

Each of the riders who applied for this experience had to meet strict criteria: They had to have at least 12 months’ racing experience; they had to be between the ages of seven and eight; they had to meet certain weight and height requirements, for safety reasons, and also had to provide a school report card that showed they were good students.

“Having a good school report was a very important factor,” said KTM events co-ordinator Kyle Blunden, “We have a social conscience and, while these young riders may have ambitions to one day become professional racers, we want to emphasise to them that getting good grades at school is vital in life.”

Although, it’s probably fair to say, school work was probably the last thing on the minds of these young riders on Saturday.

“Looking through images from the night, we can see everyone was really caught up in the experience and they loved every minute,” said Blunden, “For these young riders to go out and ride on this track in front of such a large crowd is something they will no doubt remember forever. This KTM Junior Supercross Challenge is something that was started in the United States many years ago and even men who became senior champions, riders such as multi-time American supercross champion Ryan Dungey, have expressed just how much it meant to them when they were this age.”

Dungey is one of the many who credit KJSC for his introduction to top level supercross racing and he went on to win the US Supercross Championships as a 250cc rider in 2009, before winning the 450cc title four times for KTM, in 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2017. He retired at the top, hanging up his helmet at the end of the 2017 season.

American KTM rider Dakota Alix won the senior SX2 (250cc) class on Saturday night, finishing ahead of fellow KTM rider Ryan Marmont, from Australia, with Mount Maunganui’s Josiah Natzke completing the SX2 podium. Australian Chad Reed won the SX1 class at Mt Smart Stadium, ahead of Australia’s Hayden Mellross and Scotland’s Dean Wilson.

 

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan

This is Epic Events last trail ride for the 2018 season, and to celebrate they are giving you a brand new ride in a stunning location just 10 minutes past Kinlock in Taupo! The venue has been used previously for the popular 4-Hour race event – and they have now graded all the existing 30km track, modifying it and adding another 10km of main track, making the main look 40km long!

Added to this, they’ve put in a 4km novice-only loop, as well as adding a 1/3 and a 2/3 shortcut trails back to base. There are two dedicated expert-only loops – one is over 4km long, and branches off into bronze, silver, and a gnarly gold-rated track for those of you wanting a serious workout. There’s also a fabulous kids grass track back at the base, as well as a kids-only forest loop.

The venue is stunning! From new gum forest to pines and existing native forest trails and old farm tracks… a huge variety, it’ll be a superb day’s riding! Access is easy from the road on an old airstrip with a huge amount of parking for everyone. Trail Tamer is available for one day of the weekend only – get out and make the most of the fantastic new trails!

TRAIL TAMER – General Information 2018

Featuring: Flowing forestry trails, native, pine and gums, and old farm tracks on pumice terrain. Awesome variety and great traction! All weather rideable. Trails also include single track and Expert-Only sections.

Directions: The event venue is located on Puketapu Road, about 10 minutes past the Kinloch turnoff. Look for EPIC EVENTS signs and arrows.

Tracks: Long 40km, with 2 Expert trails 5km long, and a novice track off the main loop. Kids grass and forest trails. Two shortcuts home from the main trail too.

Suitable for all abilities – 2-wheels ONLY as there is some single track on the main loop. NO quads.

Registration: From 8:30am. Tracks open 9:30am to 3pm.

Fire Extinguishers are COMPULSORY for all adult riders and can be bought on the day for $30.

Food: Food Caravan sells hamburgers, bacon and egg rolls, hot dogs, hot chips, cold drinks, and espresso coffee, tea, and more.

Entry: Enter on the day. NO Eftpos. Pay by cash or cheque. Adults $60. Kids 15 years or younger $30. Families (Family members only no exceptions Mum, Dad, and up to three kids) $130.

Safety Gear: Helmets, long trousers, long sleeved tops, and leather boots that cover the ankle are COMPULSORY. (Gloves, goggles, knee pads, kidney belt, and body armour are strongly recommended). Kids on kids tracks near the base may wear gumboots.

NO DOGS PLEASE

Accommodation: There is no camping on site. Epic Events recommends staying at and soaking in the thermal hot pools of Taupo de Bretts or Wairakei Resort. Try book a bach in Kinloch as the ride is only 10 minutes from here!

 

Bay of Plenty’s Josiah Natzke is back home now after a long season of motocross racing in Europe, the Honda rider keen to take a break before he heads back to Germany in the New Year. 

However, all those best intentions of enjoying some rest and relaxation before rejoining his team in Europe went out the window and just the slightest of arm-twisting was needed to get the 19-year-old Honda star back on a bike while he’s home in New Zealand. With backing from Auckland company Cannon Signage Concepts and Blue Wing Honda, Mount Maunganui’s Natzke lined up in the SX2 (250cc) class at the inaugural S-X Open Auckland supercross on Saturday evening, the extreme moonscape circuit laid out inside Mt Smart Stadium.

This massive event – which attracted a crowd in excess of 21,000 – also registered as the first of three rounds of the New Zealand Supercross Championships, for this SX2 class only, as so that become even more motivation for Natzke and his sponsors to enter.

Natzke ended up third overall in the SX2 class on Saturday night, the best-performed of the Kiwis and he will now take that points advantage with him to round two of the New Zealand Supercross Championships at the Lucas Oil Motocross Park at Amisfield, in Tokoroa, this coming Saturday.

Natzke finished behind American rider Dakota Alix and Australian Ryan Marmont in the SX2 class at Mt Smart Stadium, but neither of these two men will be racing at Tokoroa.

“It’s a great way to kick-start my New Zealand Supercross title bid,” said Natzke. “I have not raced since arriving home from Europe in September, so I knew Saturday night was going to be tough. But I enjoyed it immensely. The track was brutal and riding in front of so many people made me a little nervous, but I was happy with how I performed. I’m going back to Germany at the end of January, so the New Zealand Supercross Champs will be the only racing I’m now doing at home. It’s been a while since I’ve won anything in New Zealand, so it would be nice if I can take a Kiwi title away this season.”

There was a huge Honda presence at Mt Smart on Saturday night with just-crowned Australian SX1 champion Justin Brayton, from the United States, leading the charge. He was joined on the track by fellow Honda stars Brett Metcalfe, from Australia, and American riders Josh Hansen and Christian Craig.

“I wrapped up my third Australian Supercross title in a row in Sydney (two weeks ago), but it was a little frustrating for me in Auckland,” Brayton admitted, “I had a little mechanical problem in my first heat race (a sticky throttle) and that meant I had last gate pick the whole night, which put me at a huge disadvantage, otherwise I felt like I could have done better. I just love racing and the support I have had from Honda here, in Australia and New Zealand, has been amazing. I head now to Switzerland on Wednesday to do a race over there. I had my best season ever in the United States (winning round 10 of the 2018 AMA Supercross Nationals in Daytona and finishing the series fifth overall) and now I will continue building for round one of the 2019 AMA Supercross series at Anaheim (in California, on January 5).” 

 

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan

 

I’ve always heard good things about Forma boots, and until now I’d put them in the too good to be true / take it with a grain of salt category. But I’ve got to admit I’m glad I finally snagged a pair and found out it’s pretty much all true. As I’m currently wearing the Neo Tucson Adventure riding gear, it made perfect sense to try a set of the matching ADV Tourer boots, which are brought into NZ by Forma Distributors, Forbes & Davies.

Okay, the ADV Tourer boots aren’t your fully-fledged Adventure boot like the Forma Adventure boots Chris recently tested, but for a balance between protection and comfort they seem to have the chops for the riding I’m likely to put them through. Slipping them on for the first time, I honestly couldn’t believe how comfy they are. I’ve had some pretty comfortable riding boots in the past, but these Formas are a step ahead. And while I’ve only had the chance to wear them out and about a couple of times, I’m already kinda in love with them.

They offer decent amounts of protection, look stout, and (again) are super comfortable. The sole is probably the standout feature so far, with plenty of grip for trudging through mud, but with enough flex to allow for comfortable walking. The only downside so far is the fastening system, which takes a little bit more effort with its buckle, Velcro strap, and Velcro upper system, but I’m pretty sure I’ll get used to it.

Stay tuned for the next review to see how they go.

FEATURES

  • Outer

Full-grain oil treated & suede leather upper

Specific adv riding/touring compound rubber sole

Reinforced front plate

Plastic gear pad protection

Lower buckle plastic protection

Padded front and rear collar for added comfort

Personalized suede leather heat protector

Double velcro and lower adjustable/replaceable GH plastic buckle closure

Double rear reflective insert

  • Inner

Personalized Forma Drytex tubular lining (waterproof and breathable)

Shin and ankle TPU moulded plastic protections

Soft polymer padding with memory foam

PP Mid Dual Flex with antishock EVA midsole

Anti-bacterial replaceable footbed with A.P.S. (Air Pump System)

 

Tester: Mat | Price: $379.54 | Distributed by:  Forbes & Davies | Check it: www.forbesanddavies.co.nz