Two New Zealand riders have embarked on an epic journey to America to compete in the 2019 Don Matthews CZ World Championships in Marysville, California, taking place as this goes online (27th/28th April in California).
This year marks the centenary of CZ Motorcycles and also includes personal appearances from some huge names in the sport. These include Jaroslav Falta, Zednek Velky, Antonin Baboravsky, Brad Lackey, Mike Chamberlain, Mary McGee, Jim Wilson, Marty Tripes, Gary Jones, Lori Payne, and many more.
Some of the world’s best classic riders have made the pilgrimage to this racing mecca. Nations represented include England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, USA, and of course Team New Zealand.
Tony Smith (47) from Palmerston North, races in the New Zealand VMX series regularly on his 1973 CZ 380cc. He is a former Pre75 Open Class Champion and currently Number 2 in both the Pre75 and Pre78 classes.
Teaming up with Tony for Team New Zealand (aka Team Smith) is Gary Smith (47) from Feilding, who now lives in the UK. Gary cut his teeth in the New Zealand championships, 80cc and 125cc classes back in the 80’s and has now turned his attention to racing classic 1971 Greeves 380cc QUB’s and is a 3-time British Greeves Champion. Gary has also raced in the ECMO European Championships in France, Holland, Germany, Sweden, and the Czech Rebublic.
Both riders are racing CZ motorcycles in their respective World Championship Classes on bikes kindly prepared by American Sponsors Rick Nabers and Jim Palmus.
Also on the trip is Gary’s father and former New Zealand Speedway rider Graeme Smith, who is acting as navigator, manager, coach, mechanic, and most importantly bail provider in the event of a run-in with the local police!
Words and Photos: Supplied