The national title was actually won six weeks ago, but the champagne was kept on ice until just the right moment and that moment came on Saturday afternoon.

Raglan dairy farmer Jason Dickey (KTM 350XC-F) proved untouchable throughout the first three of four rounds for the 2019 New Zealand Cross-country Championships and, with points from only three of the four rounds to be counted towards the championships and each rider to discard their worst result, it meant Dickey was in an unassailable position before the fourth and final round on Saturday, the title in the bag with a round to spare.

Though he did not need to, the 24-year-old Dickey showed up anyway at the track on Saturday –  laid out on farmland between Taumarunui and Kuratau – with all the pressure off, nothing left to prove and the national title already in his possession. So he wasn’t at all daunted when several of the sport’s ‘big guns’ decided they’d try to steal away with a little bit of his thunder; former Kiwi internationals Ben Townley and Hadleigh Knight respectively making their series debuts on Saturday.

With farm work so demanding of his time, Dickey had not raced his bike in the six weeks since the previous round of the series, in Marlborough in April, and he knew that fatigue might play a part in the day’s outcome, but initially at least, he was certainly on the pace. Dickey was quickly in front after a shotgun blast signalled the race start just before midday and he led throughout the opening lap.

As the gruelling race wore on, however, Dickey eventually succumbed to pressure from Townley, Knight and Whanganui’s Seth Reardon, but was nonetheless satisfied to finish the day fourth overall and let that be his “throw away” result.

Fellow KTM riders Nathan Tesselaar (from Taupo) and Glen Murray’s Sam Brown rounded out the top six on Saturday.

As well as winning the series outright in the senior ranks, Dickey also won the battle-within-a-battle for over-300cc four-stroke class honours, while Reardon won the under-300cc four-stroke class.

Pukekawa’s Jim Orton (KTM 300XC) and Dunedin’s Richard Mason (KTM 150XC) respectively won the over-200cc and under-200cc two-stroke class titles.

“I have not done much riding lately, so was just having a bit of fun today,” said Dickey afterwards, “I suffered from ‘arm pump’ today. First lap I felt good but then it started hurting. I couldn’t run the same pace as the leaders today. I just rode to survive. I will be back to defend my title next year.”

Other class winners this season were Auckland’s Charlotte Russ (women’s class); Waipukurau’s Stephen Sergeant (veterans’ 35 to 44 years); Stratford’s Karl Roberts (veterans’ over-45 years); Raglan’s Coby Rooks (junior over-200cc four-stroke class); Eltham’s Adam Loveridge (junior under-200cc two-stroke class) and New Plymouth’s Josh Houghton (junior 85cc class).

Raglan’s Jason Dickey (KTM 450XC-F), outright senior title winner in this year’s New Zealand Cross-country Championships.

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan

 

Raglan’s Coby Rooks knows how to add drama to his day, leaving it until the final minutes to snatch glory at the cross-country motorcycling nationals.

This year’s New Zealand Cross-country Championships were something of a mixed bag, with the senior title wrapped up well before the final round, but it was far from settled in the junior ranks with Rooks locked in a tense battle with friend and rival Adam Loveridge. Honda rider Rooks led defending national junior champion Loveridge by a scant five-point margin as competitors arrived at the rolling farmland course, halfway between  Kuratau and Taumarunui, for the fourth and final round of the series on Saturday.

Only three of the four rounds were to be counted, with riders dropping their one worst result, so it meant that, after they’d each discarded their “dud” race, there was actually just three points between Rooks and Loveridge. It was simple mathematics – whichever of these two riders finished in front of the other on Saturday would claim the national crown for 2019 and, with a brutal 90-minute race in store, anything could still happen.

Rooks took his Honda CRF250 into the lead at the start on Saturday, but Loveridge snatched the advantage from him soon afterwards and that set the tone for a thrilling see-saw battle between the dynamic duo. Trouble with a bog section on lap two cost Loveridge the lead and Rooks was quick to capitalise, quick to stretch his legs out front.

However, Loveridge quickly recovered and the back-and-forth battle at the front between the pair continued over the following laps, with Loveridge back in front as they began the seventh and final lap. However, once again Loveridge came unstuck in the tricky bog and Rooks grabbed the lead, which he held until the end, eventually winning the race – and the national title – by just four seconds, one of the closest results in many years.

Taupo’s Wil Yeoman finished third in the junior race on Saturday and also claimed third overall for the series. Tauranga’s Jack McLean and Morrinsville’s Liam Calley rounded out the top five juniors for the series.

“It wasn’t easy, but when Adam (Loveridge) got stuck in a swamp on the last lap, that opened it up for me. I simply managed to avoid the mud,” said the 16-year-old Rooks, a Year-12 boarding pupil at New Plymouth Boys’ High School, “I was pushing it a bit at the end to stay in front. This was my last race in juniors and I’ll be hoping to continue on and maybe get a top-10 in the senior ranks next season.”

The three-hour senior race that followed was won by Tauranga’s Ben Townley, finishing ahead of Atiamuri’s Hadleigh Knight and Whanganui’s Seth Reardon. Raglan’s Jason Dickey finished fourth in the senior race on Saturday, but, after winning the senior race at all three of the previous rounds, Dickey already had the senior title in his back pocket.

Raglan’s Brandon Given (Honda CRF450) finished eighth overall in the senior race on Saturday, but this became his ‘throw away result’, enabling him to finish the championship third overall, behind Dickey and Reardon.

Various class winners this season were Dickey (over-300cc four-stroke class); Reardon (under-300cc four-stroke class); Pukekawa’s Jim Orton (over-200cc two-stroke class); Dunedin’s Richard Mason (under-200cc two stroke class); Auckland’s Charlotte Russ (women’s class); Waipukurau’s Stephen Sergeant (veterans’ 35 to 44 years); Stratford’s Karl Roberts (veterans’ over-45 years); Rooks (junior over-200cc four-stroke class); Loveridge (junior under-200cc two-stroke class) and New Plymouth’s Josh Houghton (junior 85cc class).

Raglan’s Coby Rooks (Honda CRF250), outright Junior title winner at the final round of the 2019 New Zealand Cross-country Championships on Saturday.

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan

Toni Bou becomes the first leader of the 2019 TrialGP World Championship after achieving a notable victory in a trial made complicated by the delicate state of the competition terrain. Team-mate Takahisa Fujinami earned a well-deserved sixth position after displaying good form.

The opening of the FIM TrialGP World Championship was marked by rain which appeared intermittently throughout the weekend at the OffRoad Park in Pietramurata (Italy). The sections were muddy and required impeccable precision by riders to be able to salvage anything out of each section.

After qualifying yesterday, Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami were forced to practically open the track with virtually no reference points ahead. The opening trial, featuring fifteen sections over two laps, proved to be a tough affair. On lap one Toni Bou picked up several penalty points for two serious, yet surprising errors. The Champion did, nevertheless, hold onto the leadership through the opening lap. On lap two, the Repsol Honda Team rider dug deep to break away from the pack at the head of the leader board. Bou finished the day atop the podium, sporting a 28-point advantage over the nearest second placed rival.

Repsol Honda Team companion Takahisa Fujinami got off to a fine start in the outdoor season finishing in sixth position in spite of having been in the tussle for the top positions. However, errors in the latter stages of the trial left the Japanese rider without options of a rostrum place.

The next round of the TrialGP World Championship will be held at the Motegi circuit in Japan, with a double-day event. The qualifying round takes place on June 7th with the main events on 8th and 9th June.

 

Toni Bou  1

TRIAL: 1ST   STANDINGS: 1ST

I am very happy with my riding today. It is true that on the first lap I made two serious mistakes by pushing against two arrows. On the second I had a great ride picking up just four points in a very complicated trial where the terrain was very slippery. I wish to thank the whole team because they have worked very hard all winter to get us here in such strong shape.

 

Takahisa Fujinami  6

TRIAL: 6TH  STANDINGS: 6TH

The first lap of this trial in Italy went pretty badly but on the second one I was able to pull back a little bit and until section ten was in fourth position. In the final sections I made mistakes that made me drop to the sixth position. I am very happy with the bike. This season I have also worked a lot physically, so I feel good. Now, to fight for the next race in Japan.

Miquel Cirera

Team Manager

Today the terrain was really difficult, it was very slippery and it was very easy to make mistakes. Toni made many mistakes on the first round but for the second the spectacular Toni of always was back. He produced one of the best laps ever made in a world championship event. Meanwhile Takahisa Fujinami worked hard, on several occasion reaching his rivals at the top, but a sixth overall position at the start is not bad at all. It has been a fine start to the world championship, but we will continue working towards the next event in Japan.

Rider Standings

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team
1 BOU Toni 1 SPA 20 Repsol Honda Team
2 FAJARDO Jeroni 2 SPA 17 Gas Gas
3 RAGA Adam 67 SPA 15 TRRS Factory Team
4 BINCAZ Benoit 73 FRA 13 Beta Factory Racing
5 BUSTO Jaime 69 SPA 11 Vertigo Factory Team
6 FUJINAMI Takahisa 6 JPN 10 Repsol Honda Team
7 GELABERT Miquel 9 SPA 9 Sherco Factory Team
8 KADLEC Franz 66 GER 8 TRRS Factory Team
9 DABILL James 22 GBR 7 Beta Factory Racing
10 NOGUERA Oriol 13 SPA 6 Team Jotagas
11 PRICE Jack 34 GBR 5 Gas Gas
12 FARRE Arnau 19 SPA 4 Team Jotagas
13 CASALES Jorge 33 SPA 3 Vertigo Factory Team
14 PEACE Dan 38 GBR 2 Sherco Factory Team
15 RIVA  Andrea 96 ITA 1 TRRS Factory Team

Words and Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

Team HRC’s Tim Gajser made it two overall victories in a row, as he swept the MXGP of France in convincing one-one fashion. The Slovenian rider was made to work for both moto wins, but he proved all weekend that he was the fastest rider on the track and this speed shone through as he won his fourth consecutive race to close the gap at the top of the MXGP championship to just 10 points. For teammate Brian Bogers, he wasn’t able to put in the results that he wanted but now has a weekend off to try and build for the eighth round of the series in Orlyonok, Russia on June 8-9.

With confidence high after his double moto win in Portugal last weekend, Gajser knew that another good performance here would really get him right back into the championship battle. With the hard-pack surface suiting his skillset, he and his CRF450RW were fastest in every session on Saturday and then he backed that up on Sunday with two smooth and controlled motos. In the first race, he quickly moved to the front of the field after a top five start, where he then put in a couple of sprint laps to create a gap that he managed until the chequered flag. For race two, he had to work a bit harder as a bad jump meant he had to work his way through from around 10th place. He moved into fourth place after a lap and then gradually worked his way to the front of the field, with some nice passes and real display of throttle control on this tricky St Jean d’Angely track. The two wins meant 50 points and that has closed the gap at the top of the MXGP championship to just 10 points, with eleven rounds still remaining.

Orlyonok in Russia is another hillside venue, with the stony surface very similar to the one this weekend in France. This means that as he heads into this short break, it should give Gajser even more confidence that he can extend this current winning run and maintain this high level of performance that has seen him win six of the last eight motos. It is also a place that Bogers has performed well at in the past and the Dutch rider will be hoping that revisiting the track can revive his fortunes that have taken a bit of a downward trend in the past couple of rounds.

A crash early on in race one left him with a lot of work to do and he couldn’t quite make it all the way back to the points scoring positions. Race two went better as he scored six points and rode a pace similar to those inside the top 10 but he’ll still be hoping for more and this weekend off should give him the chance to help make that happen.

Tim Gajser  243

I’m really happy how both days went. I was having fun on the track and even though it was rough and sketchy in some places, it was still enjoyable to race on. In the first race, I took a little time to pass the guys in front of me before getting the lead and making a gap to control the race. In the second moto I clipped the gate and almost went over the handlebar off the start but I recovered and near the back it felt like. I made some passes to get near the front and then settled for a couple of laps in third before making a strike to get out front. I’m just really happy how things are going at the moment and I hope to continue this momentum into Russia. I am having fun on the bike and I am enjoying putting in the work with the rest of Team HRC. We have a great environment that is helping me this season and it is such a great feeling to win these races and reward the effort that everyone is putting in.

Brian Bogers  189

It didn’t go as well as I hoped it would go today. I didn’t get the best start in race one and I crashed early on. I was riding against myself and made a lot of mistakes. It definitely wasn’t an enjoyable experience out there. In race two I got a better start and was around 13th and I felt a lot better. Unfortunately I stalled the bike and lost a couple of positions so that didn’t help me, but the riding felt much better that the first race and I think my laptimes were good so although the end result wasn’t what I was after, I still hope I can use this to build towards the next race in Russia.

Marcus Pereira de Freitas

HRC General Manager – MXGP

Tim once again proved just how fast he can ride, and looked extremely impressive all weekend. The laptimes he was putting in on Saturday showed that he and the bike were working really well together and we just kept that momentum on Sunday when he showed again that he can perform under pressure and still control a race on a very tricky track. He has now won the last two overalls and closed the gap right up in the championship battle so we are extremely excited to head to Russia. There is a weekend off now, so we must remained focused but everyone in Team HRC is concentrating on the job at hand and confidence is running high.
We also hope that Brian can get his level back to like we saw in Mantova and Trentino. He has shown he can do it, so we must all work together to get him riding like that again. We know he has done well in Russia in the past, so we are hopeful of a similar effort after this weekend off.

Rider Standings

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team
1 CAIROLI Antonio 222 ITA 311 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
2 GAJSER Tim 243 SLO 301 Team HRC – MXGP
3 PAULIN Gautier 21 FRA 218 Wilvo Yamaha MXGP
4 DESALLE Clement 25 BEL 208 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing
5 JASIKONIS Arminas 27 LTU 190 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
6 SEEWER Jeremy 91 SWI 184 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
7 TONUS Arnaud 4 SWI 162 Wilvo Yamaha MXGP
8 VAN HOREBEEK Jeremy 89 BEL 156 Honda SR Motoblouz
9 COLDENHOFF Glenn 259 NDL 144 Standing Construct KTM
10 LIEBER Julien 33 BEL 141 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing
11 JONASS Pauls 41 LAT 138 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
12 SIMPSON Shaun 24 GBR 129 RFX KTM Racing
13 LUPINO Alessandro 77 ITA 103 Gebben V Venrooy Kawasaki
14 MONTICELLI Ivo 128 ITA 87 iFly JK Racing
15 SEARLE Tommy 100 GBR 86 Bike It DRT Kawasaki
16 FEBVRE Romain 461 FRA 85 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
17 ANSTIE Max 99 GBR 80 Standing Construct KTM
18 LEOK Tanel 7 EST 65 A1M Husqvarna
19 BOGERS Brian 189 NDL 62 Team HRC – MXGP
20 PATUREL Benoit 6 FRA 53 Gebben V Venrooy Kawasaki
21 TIXIER Jordi 911 FRA 40 Team VHR KTM Racing
22 BRYLYAKOV Vsevolod 18 RUS 31 JWR Yamaha Racing
23 STRIJBOS Kevin 22 BEL 29 JWR Yamaha Racing
24 BUTRON Jose 17 SPA 18 JD Gunnex KTM Racing Team
25 BERNARDINI Samuele 321 ITA 14 Ghidinelli Racing Team
26 PETROV Petar 152 BUL 14 Team Honda Red Moto
27 GOLE Anton 297 SWE 14 iFly JK Racing
28 KULLAS Harri 151 FIN 10 Wildcard Rider
29 VAN DER MIERDEN Sven 94 NDL 8 Wildcard Rider
30 FERRIS Dean 111 AUS 6 Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing

Words and Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

Tokelove maintains Hooligan podium run for Indian Motorcycle
AFT star Johnny Lewis wow’s the crowds with FTR750
Pro-class battle heats-up

The MCN Festival of Motorcycling, held at Peterborough Arena, East of England Showground, played host to the Indian Motorcycle Flat Track Nationals last weekend with the flat track arena providing high octane entertainment right at the heart of the festival. Over 300 tonnes of new dirt had been added to the track and the venue was in prime condition for the event; yet unpredictable weather made for a frustrating start to the two days of racing with Saturdays Hooligan races cancelled due to consistent rain during the day.

Sundays Hooligan action more than made up it with heart-stopping moments as Indian Motorcycle’s Krazy Horse teammates Leah Tokelove and Lee Kirkpatrick battled bar to bar on their modified Scouts for position in the heat races. The Hooligan final saw a dominant performance from Gary Birtwistle leading from beginning to end although he was under constant pressure from Max Hunt. A red flag caused a restart from a line out and left Indian Scout rider Leah Tokelove having to fight her way back from fourth behind Grant Martin to take a well deserved third place, continuing her consistent podium streak.

Hooligan Results: 1 – Gary Birtwistle / 2 – Max Hunt / 3 – Leah Tokelove / 4 – Grant Martin / 5 – James Jordan

The Pro-class line up at Peterborough included AFT National number 10 Johnny Lewis, who had been touring Europe for the past three weeks promoting the sport, performing exhibition displays on the world-beating Indian FTR750 and training local riders through his Moto Anatomy Flat Track schools.

Johnny lined up with some of the best riders in Europe to provide a heavy hitting line up for the pro-class event, with qualifying heats seeing the Spanish Team Greenfield rider Gerard Bailo set the fastest lap ahead of Lewis and fellow Spanish rider Ferran Sastre. By the time the competitors lined for the final, there were six riders who had really shown they had the ability to win. As the green light came on it was the American Lewis who took the holeshot followed by British rider Rob Mear. Sastre and Bailo worked their way up the field and headed towards Lewis. As the race headed towards the closing laps the top three riders were swapping places on each corner but a crash at the rear of the field caused a red flag and the race was stopped with three laps to go. The result was declared on lap twelve with Gerard Bailo taking the win.

Pro-class Results: 1 – Gerard Bailo / 2- Ferran Sastre / 3 – Johnny Lewis / 4- Toby Hales / 5 – Rob Mear

Next up for the Hooligans will be the second round of the European Championship at El Rollo in Spain on the 15th June followed by round five of the Flat Track Nationals at Dirtquake in Eastbourne 10th August.

2019 HOOLIGAN CHAMPIONSHIP DATES

June 15  – El Rollo, Wheels & Waves, ESP – European Championship
August 9/10 –  DIRTQUAKE, Arlington Stadium, Sussex, UK
September 21/22 –  Greenfield Oval, Alford, UK – European Championship

Words: Indian Motorcycle Media, Photos: Tom Bing