New Zealand fans are in for double the dazzle in March 2019 when the world’s biggest action sports show performs its jaw-dropping new tour in five stadiums nationwide.

The all-new You Got This Stadium tour (formerly known as the Next Level Tour) showcases Nitro Circus fearless riders braving the biggest ramps ever seen in both FMX and BMX, and once again New Zealand is set to reap the rewards of this boundary-breaking insanity.

Not resting on their laurels, the Nitro Circus crew has created not one, but two all-new ramps which will now make their way to New Zealand this summer.

As the tour organisers were unsure how the colossal new ramps would travel, New Zealand was due to see the proven Next Level tour setup to New Zealand – a show that has been touring Europe, Australia and North American cities in 2018.  But after unveiling the re-imagined 55-foot Giganta ramp in North America in September, complete with a takeoff kicker more than three metres taller than anything Nitro Circus has toured before, the results were too good to pass up.

“Our new and bigger Giganta ramp has been such an unprecedented success on our just completed North American tour – with audiences being blown away by the mind-boggling new tricks the guys have been able to throw down – that we made the decision to bring this ramp and show to New Zealand,” Nitro Circus President Andy Edwards explained. “So in one insane show, Kiwi fans will now get to witness not one but two new setups in FMX, and BMX/skate.  We all cannot wait to bring this show to New Zealand.”

More than 30,000 tickets to shows in Auckland, Hamilton, Napier, Wellington and Christchurch have sold already, with Hawke’s Bay and Canterbury audiences proving they are Nitro super-fans – racking up unprecedented pre-Christmas ticket sales.

Taupo’s Jed Mildon, the world’s first triple and quad backflipping BMXer, and arguably the biggest name in New Zealand action sports, campaigned to bring the double-ramp show to his home crowd, adamant that New Zealand sees the very best version of the Nitro Circus show.

“I just knew from the moment I first hit this ramp six weeks ago in Montreal, that New Zealand had to have this ramp,” Mildon said. “The FMX boys have done such a great job progressing their sport over the past 12 months, it’s now our time to catch up on the Giganta side. With this brand new ramp technology, I cannot wait to throw down in front of my people, in what will be the best shows New Zealand has ever seen. It’s going to be epic.”

“I may be biased, but I’m not the only one on tour that says it – New Zealand fans are the most wild and passionate fans anywhere in the world. So it’s only right that they get the very best version of our show and I am honoured to have played a small role in making this happen,” he adds.

Combined, these new ramps – one a radically expanded version of Nitro’s infamous Giganta Ramp, the other the massive FMX Next Level ramp — will ensure that the March 2019 tour will be the biggest New Zealand shows in Nitro Circus history, as the best athletes in FMX, BMX, and Skate push themselves to their absolute limits on the biggest ramps in action sports. Adding to the fear factor, in true Nitro Circus style, You Got This will feature a host of new crazy contraptions that have no business flying through the air, along with a few other surprises that will be revealed as the tour dates near.

For the ultimate experience, Nitro fans can purchase the premiere seats as part of the all-new Nitro VIP package, which also includes a behind the scenes look at the show set with an exclusive pre-show track walk, allowing the VIPs to get up close and personal with the biggest ramps in action sports. A souvenir poster is also included in this package

The Nitro Circus: You Got This Stadium Tour is a wild, electrifying night of action sports excitement Kiwi fans do not want to miss.

DATE CITY VENUE
9 March Auckland Eden Park
10 March Hamilton FMG Stadium Waikato
15 March Wellington Westpac Stadium
17 March Hawke’s Bay McLean Park
23, March Christchurch Christchurch Stadium

Following on from the massive technological advancements to Yamaha’s MX1 flagship for 2018, it was only natural for all that juicy tech to filter down to the MX2 machine for 2019. We sent Scotty Columb over to Aussie to give it a go before any other Kiwi got a chance.

“Get ya passport ready Scotty, because you’re off to Willowbank MX Park in Brisbane to test out the new 2019 YZ250F for DRD.” Yep, I was off to Aussie after the call came down from DRD Ed, Paul, that he needed someone to test Yamaha’s all-new MX2 machine.

And when Yamaha say the model is “all-new”, they really mean it. Okay, the changes aren’t exactly a surprise, but essentially the bLU cRU have taken all the best improvements from the latest YZ450F and adapted them for the lites machine. And with the current YZ250F still really competitive, I was interested to see what it was going to be like with a bit of the same magic they’d sprinkled on the 450. And nothing was left alone, with the powerplant, frame, suspension and electronics all getting some form of attention, varying from something minor like a change in angle by a degree or two, or a complete update.

One thing of note straight outta the gate is that a Yamaha is still blue to its core, but like the YZ450F there’s now an option of Competition White available. I don’t think it will stay white for long – a bit like ya jocks, sometimes they change colour after ya have one of those “moments” over a kicker – but if you’re not a fan of blue there’s another option.

First impressions are that the bike’s ergonomics are upgraded, 19mm lower in the rear of the seat, making the bike’s cockpit flatter, as well as being 9mm lower in the middle. Foot pegs are also lower because of these adjustments made to the ride height, which would likely be a real bonus if you’re of average height as the YZs were always really tall.

The width of the bike is 18mm narrower than the previous model, and that’s even with the air filter located front and centre of the saddle. All new plastics with a change in contour forward of the saddle mean you can grip tighter with your knees, thus giving a better feel and maneuverability of the machine, and the 250F really does feel small and agile.

After sitting down with the rest of the other testers, a nice bloke from Yamaha Australia called Geeza – he’s got a real name, Sean, and is the Communications Manager at Yamaha Australia – tells us everything we need to know about the new 2019 model. There’s so much information on the plethora of changes Yamaha have made to the YZ250F for 2019, it’s almost daunting.

However, stand out points where a smaller fuel tank, moving from 7.5 litres down to 6.2, mass engine updates, and importantly an electric starter matched with a lightweight lithium battery bringing it up to speed with the European MX2 competition. Oh, and don’t go looking for the kick-starter as there isn’t one and the exhaust can be hot!

Yamaha have also gone all out on the chassis and made adjustments to the frame, head angle and the engine mounting in the aim for more balanced rigidity characteristics. Add to that stronger wheels – still conventional round wheels but the rims are stronger! – and updated KYB suspension and you’ve got a very appealing package. After all was said and done, I was chomping at the bit to get out and race… I mean, test (okay, it’s always a race at these press events) the new machine.

After a lap around the car park just to feel the bike and controls it was onto the track, wide open. The rasp of the exhaust is amazing; it sounds great and I think you don’t even need an aftermarket one, the stock one was that impressive. After 5 or 6 laps of pinning it to win, I had to pull in and rest my arms. Taking the time to speak with a couple of Yamaha mechanics, a few adjustments were made to the controls.

Now, this bike pulls really well in the mid-power range, right where you want to be. But when you hit full throttle or up top, the bike opens up and goes in to “turbo mode” and revs to the moon. The mods to the DOHC powerplant for 2019 have turned this into an amazing engine that just pulls like a freight train. There is also less induction noise with the new air-box, which conveniently features a single piece Dzus clip for easy access to change filters, which also now stay cleaner as they are away from the rear wheel.

After a bit of talking smack with other riders about the track and bike, it was time to load maps onto the ECU. Now like its big brother, Yamaha have an app you download on your smart phone. After connecting to the bike’s WiFi, you can load pre-programmed maps, with the three basic settings: hard-hitting power (loamy), linear TRQ (hard pack) and smooth linear (slippery) settings. I tested them all out, and you can even switch between map 1 and 2 with a push of a button on the fly with the bar-mounted button. Oh, and on the handlebars, they’ve been reduced in weight but not strength due to a thinner bar wall and higher strength metal.

Back out on the track and it’s easily to notice there is substantial differences in the maps. My favourite was the hard-hitting power, but it would entirely depend on rider preference and course. Then, of course, you can play with your phone and adjust fuel and air mixtures yourself and load them on to the ECU, with the safety of not going so extreme that you risk doing damage to the engine. There are also many other features with the app, allowing you to put in information like track settings, air temp, maintenance records, run time of the bike and more. It’s like playing at being an MXGP mechanic which I found I rather enjoyed, or at least ya dad will.

The course chosen by Yamaha to show off the new YZ was beautifully ripped, loamy dirt and with some sand sections. There were no jumps, but lots of ruts and berms to rail. There was a jump track out the back where a few whips and cross-ups were done. No complaints here as the bike flew well in the air. However, I felt the rear shock, which is new, was hurting my back and felt a little harsh on acceleration bumps and braking. A few of the other riders also felt this.

Everyone made their own adjustments and I went a few clicks softer and faster on the rebound and that was it. The forks were also dropped in the clamps 3mm, and from here I just went around and around and around, happy as a pig in shit. I have to admit, I had one hell of a day on this new machine.

The bike comes with Bridgestone tyres and felt like glue around the Aussie circuit. Changes have been made to the steering head angle and frame, but not having ridden the ‘18 model I couldn’t compare the two. But any improvement must have been right because this bike seemed to handle and feel great. As you may or may not know, a lot of new model testing is done by ex-pros, and a Kiwi guy named Josh Coppins (you might have heard of him…) had a lot to do with tuning the general feel and make-up of the bike, so you know it’s going to be good.

The 2019 YZ250F feels great, is fast and corners fantastic. The only slight niggles I had was that it sometimes struggled a little starting if you were in gear, but it sure beats kicking it in the guts. And another thing was every now and then the footpeg would get jammed up with the heavy dirt. To be honest I may be getting a little too picky here, but there was nothing else negative to comment on. And I reckon the fact Courtney Duncan and Aaron Plessinger are dominating on these bikes, I’m sure you will be alright too!

 

Honda have unveiled two all-new CRF’s and three updated models at the MXGP of the Netherlands, along with a special presentation for EMX250 champion Mathys Boisramé, who wrapped up the title at the previous round in Bulgaria a few weeks prior. Mathys’ championship-winning CRF250R was then revealed, resplendent with the traditional gold plate used by series champions.

 

 

The new CRF250RX adds yet another dimension to Honda’s off-road range, taking the CRF250R as a base, with a revised 18-inch wheel, 8.5-litre fuel tank, and softer suspension to become an adept cross-country machine. 3-level HRC Launch Control and stronger bottom-end torque aid the power delivery, while handling capabilities get a boost via a new front brake caliper and Renthal Fatbars.

 

 

A new road-legal CRF450L, built upon the CRF450R, opens up a new segment of lightweight dual-purpose motoring, allowing maximum enjoyment for the off-road hobby rider. With an increased fuel tank volume, all-LED lighting, and side-stand, the 450L is aimed to provide worry-free riding and ownership – even the first major service isn’t due until an astounding 32,000km.

 

 

Last years CRF250R receives a range of new performance, utility, and aesthetic upgrades. Bottom and mid-range torque output get a boost, and like the 450’s, the CRF250R also gains 3-level HRC Launch Control. A new twin-piston front brake caliper, adjustable Renthal Fatbars, and black rims complete the updates.

The previous CRF450R has been specced with an increase of 1.8kW more horsepower, and 2Nm extra torque, for stronger power delivery throughout the rev range via a revised cylinder head, intake, and exhaust. 3-level HRC Launch Control, a redesigned front brake caliper, and four-way adjustable Renthal Fatbars are fitted, along with detailed weight-saving updates.

The CRF450RX also gets a performance boost with more horsepower and torque, the chassis offers a revised rigidity balance, and new suspension settings. Four-way adjustable Renthal Fatbars offer improved handling feel. Carried on from the previous model are the 18-inch rear wheel and 8.5-litre fuel tank.

 

 

 

 

Taking a Polaris RZR 1000 Turbo to one of the largest play grounds in New Zealand was always guaranteed to produce plenty of fun!

Luke Temple is one of those guys you can’t help but get along with in the moto paddock, but he has a bit of a secret affliction, an addiction to all things Kawasaki…

Words and Pics: Mat

 

If you’ve ever had a mate who passed all his exams at school without studying while you sweated blood over cram sessions, well, that kid is kind of Luke in the moto paddock.

Instead of building his way up the ladder of power, Luke graduated straight from juniors to the big leagues when he bought his first KX450F, but it was the old KX500 that stuck in his mind…

There is an unmistakable allure to the big 500cc, 2-strokes of the 90s.

Maybe it is the huge expansion pipes, the blocky plastics, or maybe it’s the insane power. Whatever it is, Luke Temple is a man who lives the KX500 life, but getting his own example of the mighty KX wasn’t without its challenges.

“I’ve been wanting to build a KX500 for a few years now,” Luke says. “But every time a decent one popped up, I always found an excuse why I shouldn’t buy it.”

That bad attitude wasn’t to last though, and it wasn’t long before a bike popped up that Luke couldn’t say ‘no’ to.

“Earlier this year, around March, I found a really good clean 2000 KX500 that came out of California, and I finally just decided I should get it or it would never happen; you only live once, right? Next thing I know it’s in my garage.”

With our winter slightly soggier than normal this year, it gave Luke plenty of time to fettle the big 2-stroke thumper back to perfection.

The Build

“Slowly over winter, I spent my days looking for every aftermarket part I could get my hands on and even had some custom parts made. I got in touch with Sean Collier in America, who put me in touch with the team who built the KX500 that he won the 2-stroke Nationals with at Glenn Helen.”

Along with the special custom touches, Luke also raided his more modern Kawasaki parts bin.

Incredibly, even with 17 years between the heroes of the Kawasaki dirt range, the air forks from a 2017 KXF450, bolt right up to the existing KX500 triple clamps; so naturally, they went on – along with most of the KX450F front end, including the far more modern brake discs, with Luke rebuilding the stock KX500 calipers using new KX450F internals.

The wheels also were pinched from the KX450F, but considering the standard KX500 axle is an 18mm unit and those on the new bikes are up around 25mm, Warp 9 Racing in America was called and they made up the necessary spacers to ensure the rear wheel would fit.

The rear wheel also required a custom brake disc as well, which Warp 9 also made for Luke’s project.

While the front end is completely up to date, the stock rear shock has surprisingly been left in place – mainly due to the fact it tapers downward with just enough space to suit the exhaust – but Luke had a card up his sleeve to get more value out of the 17-year old shock.

He gave Mark Patterson Suspension a call and instructed them to throw every aftermarket RaceTech component at it they could.

The result is a bike that actually rides pretty well, according to Luke, and going by his performance at the Sand Prix, he isn’t lying!

While the engine is mostly stock, Luke has ensured it’s ready to take a good fang with a fresh piston, rings and a full aftermarket exhaust.

The only true modification surprisingly doesn’t produce any extra power, but instead makes the beast easier to kick over. Remember, this is a bike from a time when real men kicked their bikes to get them going.

“I’ve had an auto decompression diaphragm added to the head, which feeds off the vacuum created from the reed valve.”

This little mod makes the big 500 kick-over like a 125, and it’s hilarious to think that it is, essentially, a valve off a Briggs and Stratton lawnmower.

“The only other engine mod is the one-piece clutch cover that I have cut off, I’ve had a space plate machined up and attached my 450 Hinson clutch cover. This looks cool, and now I can get at the clutch easily.”

Finishing off the build was the obligatory graphics upgrade, which Cam Huggins from DB Graphics made up, while DR Trim in Morrinsville recovered the seat to match Luke’s 450F.

But we don’t spend all that time in the shed just to sit back and admire what we’ve put together, we build bikes to get them dirty – and Luke is no exception.

The Ride

“Once the bike was built up, I rode it at Mercer at a practice day, thinking the bike would suck. It would look and sound cool, but ride like a bike would have done in the 90s.

“To my delight, it actually rode really well – nowhere near a modern 450, but pretty good nonetheless.

“Once the Mercer Sand Prix came along I thought, ‘why not have some fun and ride the 500 instead?’ I’m a bit past the days of racing nationals and trying to get good results. Nowadays, I ride for fun, so I thought: ‘why not race the 500?’ I ended up doing really well on the old girl and came home in 5th.”

Not bad for a bike based on a design first penned in the early 80s.

But the coolest thing about this bike is the number of people that come up and drool over it. It seems everyone – no matter their age or background – can appreciate the old 2-stroke Kawasaki.

“It must be a nostalgia thing or something, but people just love to look at it,” explains Luke, and we’d have to agree.