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

 

Word has just come out of the AMA that Red Bull Factory KTM rider Broc Tickle has failed a WADA drug test.


 

 

WADA stands for the World Anti-Doping Association, after a test came back positive from his San Diego sampling, provisionally suspending Broc effective immediately from any sporting competition, meaning he will be out for the remainder of the AMA Supercross series. This probably means the end of his 2018 campaign all together as we don’t expect to see Broc on the start line at Hangtown either.

This suspension comes after a string of riders have failed drug testing over the past few years, starting with James Stewart, who copped an 18-month ban for his failed test. Cade Clayson is the last rider to be suspended for failing a drug test, ruling him out of the entire 2018 season before it even began. Now with Broc in the firing line, someone who you would never guess to be doping, it seems the threat is real for any AMA rider looking to give themselves an extra boost.

The drug that Broc tested positive for was Methylhexanamine, said to originally appear in a nasal congesting spray. More commonly it is found in energy boosting supplements but is banned under nearly all sporting disciplines

Broc could face the same fate as Cade and cope a 1-year suspension or join James Stewart with an 18-month ban. The maximum penalty is a four-year suspension, which would end his career. If his B samples come back positive, it will for sure mean definite suspension for the KTM rider, and probably the end of his tenor at Red Bull KTM, no matter how long the ban is. You won’t likely see Broc on factory equipment again if this goes through.

We are hoping this is not the case, as the series has already been dealt many blows this year with riders such as Roczen, Bogle, Millsaps, Seely and now Webb, who suffered a fractured tibia over the weekend, all out due to injury. Fingers crossed there is a misunderstanding here, as WADA and the FIM come down with an iron fist in these circumstances.

Press Release below;

 

 

The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) has advised US Supercross rider Broc Tickle that he is provisionally suspended pursuant to Article 7.9 of the FIM Anti-doping Code. The decision to provisionally suspend Mr. Tickle was taken following the receipt of a report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Cologne indicating an Adverse Analytical Finding of 5-methylhexan-2-amine, a specified substance under Section 6 (Stimulants) of the 2018 FIM Prohibited List, in a urine sample collected from him at an in-competition test carried out by the FIM at the round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship held in San Diego, California, USA, on 10 February 2018.

Mr. Tickle has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample.

Mr. Broc Tickle is provisionally suspended with effect from 14 April 2018. He is therefore barred from participating in any Sports competition until further notice (Art. 10.12 of the FIM Anti-doping Code). Under Article 7.9.3.2 of the FIM Anti-doping Code, Mr. Tickle may request lifting of his provisional suspension.

 

 

It was a devastating night in Florida for Team Honda HRC, as their sole active rider, Cole Seely, was sidelined early in the evening after crashing hard in 450SX heat two. While running third, Seely attempted to jump a quad in the long rhythm section after the start straight. He came up short and was ejected over the handlebar, after which the motorcycle’s rear wheel landed on him.

Seely was immediately assisted on-track by the Alpinestars Mobile Medical Unit crew and was then transported directly to St. Joseph’s Hospital. After further evaluation, it was determined that Seely had sustained fractures to his sacrum and the left and right sides of his pelvis. He underwent an initial procedure Saturday evening to realign the pelvis

“We’re extremely disappointed to see Cole’s season come to an end like this, says team manager Erik Kehoe. Things were going well up until this weekend. He was second in points and continuing to improve each week, so it was only a matter of time until he would have gotten a win. This is the hardest part of our sport because it never gets easy seeing one of your riders hurt. The entire team and everyone at Honda wishes Cole the best for a speedy recovery.”

On Sunday, a more extensive operation was performed to repair substantial damage to his abdominal wall, fixate the pelvis with a large plate and screws, and insert a screw on each side of the sacrum. The initial prognosis is for eight weeks non-weight bearing, with a follow-up appointment to take place in 10 to 14 days.

That means Honda are without Seely until at least the penultimate round of the series at Salt Lake City, but it is likely Seely won’t be bike fit for the remainder of the season due to the severity of his injury.

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