Don’t let the size of these racers fool you, their hearts are huge and their desire and determination perhaps even greater than that.
Run by the Kapi-Mana Motorcycle Club and sponsored by Friday Homes and TSS Red Baron Motorcycles, the 2018 New Zealand Mini Motocross Championships will be held near the Kapiti Coast this weekend, the tricky course inland on Bulls Run Road, Moonshine Valley, about halfway between Lower Hutt and Porirua, and it is sure to test even the most talented of youngsters.
The future of the sport will be on show here with a packed programme to occupy riders throughout both Saturday and Sunday.
Riders aged between four and 11 – and riding bikes with engine capacities anywhere between 50cc and 112cc – will bash handlebars in a series of high-intensity races and there is no doubt that some of the riders who feature this weekend will go on to carve national or even international careers for themselves in the future.
Kapi Mana Motorcycle Club secretary Charles Colpman said he was impressed by the huge number of riders entered this year.
“With 165 entries, it is the largest number lining up at a mini nationals in the past five years at least, certainly within my memory. It just shows what a healthy state the sport is in at the moment and I think the large numbers are due to the fact that a championship licence is no longer required and riders can race simply with club licences.
“With 59 entries in the 9-11 years’ 65cc class, it means we will be to have qualifying sessions to whittle them down to 30 on the start gate. Riders that don’t make the cut will have their own support class races, so nobody misses out.”
The 9-11 years’ 65cc class, will possibly feature the young man who last year finished third in the 6-8 year’s 50cc class, Aucklander Jack Ellingham, and he can expect fierce challenges from riders such as Hawera’s Ajay Jordan, Levin’s Blair Diamond, Taradale’s Scott Boston, Hastings’ rider Charlie Schaw, Balclutha’s Deakan Mullin-Henry, Waimauku’s Huntah Robarts, Takapau’s Jordan Coles, Palmerston North’s Lockie Barr, Pahiatua pair Maz Parkes and Rory Angrove, Invercargill’s Ryder Sheehan, Featherston’s Teddy Shaw, New Plymouth’s Thomas Robinson, Bunnythorpe’s Wayde Robertson and Nelson’s Wills Harvey, to name a few.
In some of the other bike classes it may be worth watching out for talented riders such as Tauranga’s Arama Te Whetu, Upper Hutt’s Ezra Friday, New Plymouth’s Travis Jaxon, Carterton’s Maddox Swanson, Hamilton’s Jacob Beattie, Silverdale’s Connor Kerr and Pukekohe’s Zavier Jolly, among others, to feature near the front.
Current leading senior grade riders such as international star Josiah Natzke, from Tauranga, and Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis, Ngatea’s Ben Broad, Feilding’s Tony Cvitanovich, Cambridge’s Ashton Grey, Hastings rider Jye Deacon, Cambridge’s Trent Collins and Te Puke’s Jordan Milsom, to name just a few, can all trace their beginnings to the mini motocross ranks.
International pathways can certainly begin at the mini nationals.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan