There’s no denying the supercross talent of riders such as Ben Townley, Josiah Natzke, Carlin Hedley and Korban Paget. These were the riders who produced unbeaten performances at a damp round one of the New Zealand Supercross Championships at Tokoroa a fortnight ago and the question now is can they repeat those performances at the second and final round near Invercargill this Saturday (December 15)?
Four of the five championship classes were dominated by just one rider at the Tokoroa circuit, although there is plenty that might still happen during the final races at Winton this Saturday. Oropi’s Townley (SX1, open class), Mount Maunganui’s Natzke (SX2, 250cc), Ohaupo’s Hedley (SX Lites, 125cc) and Rangiora’s Paget (Junior 250) each recorded a hat-trick of wins in their respective classes at Tokoroa, while, in the remaining championship class, the Junior Lites, Hamilton bothers Nicholas and Dylan Westgate ended up sharing the top spot. Nicholas Westgate finished with a 1-1-7 score-card at Tokoroa, while his sibling rival Dylan Westgate scored 2-3-2 results, Nicholas eventually getting the nod as overall winner thanks to the count-back rule. Each of these riders know there’s plenty still to be done before the championships wrap up at Winton on Saturday, except for Hedley, who learned this week that he has already been crowned champion of the SX Lites class. With insufficient entries for this class at Winton, the class has been dropped from the programme for this weekend and the result has been declared.
Meanwhile, Townley has indicated that he may not be racing at Winton this weekend, perhaps leaving the way clear for the runner-up rider in the SX1 class, Taupo’s Cohen Chase, to take advantage. However, Nelson’s Reece Walker is also well-positioned, just two points behind Chase. Motueka’s Josh Coppins is tipped to make his first appearance in the series on Saturday and that may upset a few points calculations too. Former factory Grand Prix motocross star Coppins won the SX2 class in the supercross nationals last season, jumping in at the last minute to replace an injured Maximus Purvis, but this year Coppins will be racing in the SX1 class.
Saturday’s event at Winton at the VetSouth Super-X Track in Ryan Road, is billed as “the world’s southern-most supercross”. It is always an extremely popular venue and sure to draw a large crowd. The Tokoroa event was supported by Craig Stevens Yamaha and the Winton event, hosted by the Southland Motorcycle Club, will be supported by Brent Scammell Honda.
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan