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It is Going to Be TT Terrific

2014 Bike Torque NZ TT Championships

It is Going to Be TT Terrific

JULY 07, 2014: If you can picture superbike racing on a grass track, then you’ll have no trouble at all imagining what it will look like at the annual New Zealand TT Championships near Turangi this weekend.

Riders from all the various dirt bike codes – and possibly a few road-racers too – will flock to the southern tip of Lake Taupo this Saturday andSunday for the popular TT nationals, prepared to take their dirt bikes out to conquer a flat paddock course that more closely resembles a road-race circuit than a jump-strewn motocross course.

The racing does share some of the characteristics of road-racing and riders do reach some incredible speeds, at least until the track cuts up rough at this Bike Torque Yamaha-sponsored event.

The event was blessed last season with the crowning of several first-time champions, riders such as Taupo's Ben Townley, Stratford's Camo Keegan, Taihape's Sarah Elwin, Turangi's Brendon Dally, Inglewood's Steve Holmes, Kaiwaka's Cullen Curtis and Mangakino's Maximus Purvis each collecting their first TT titles and it is highly likely that more fresh names will be etched into the silverware this time around too.

Townley won’t be back to defend his open class crown, but former motocross world No.2 Josh Coppins will make his debut at the event, while Waitakere’s Ethan Martens has indicated he will line up on an open class machine this season, hoping to bag titles in both the over-300cc and under-300cc four-stroke classes. Martens won back-to-back MX2 (250cc) class titles, winning in 2012 and 2013.

Taupo’s Brad Groombridge, fresh from finishing runner-up in the Tarawera 100 cross-country marathon near Kawerau last weekend, will be another of those riders favoured to take the open class title on Sunday afternoon.

Martens will be kept honest in the MX2 by riders such as Otorohanga’s Hayden Kanters and Tauranga’s Aaron Wiltshier, while Te Awamutu’s Jacob Steel, Christchurch’s Dylan Walsh, Otorohanga’s Aaron King and Auckland enduro and moto trials ace Liam Draper should also stand a good chance of winning.

Keegan snatched both the ATV open class and ATV 450cc production class titles last season and is expected to be on the podium this year too, although Rotorua’s Jason Jepson will be zeroing in on him.

Elwin won the women's crown last season, while Dally won the over-45 years' veterans' title, Holmes ruled the over-50 years' class, Curtis took the junior ATV class win and Purvis won the junior 8-12 years' 85cc/150cc class title.

New Plymouth's Mitch Rowe won the veterans' over-35 years' class, Auckland's Craig Ridgley won the ATV over-40 years' class, and Taupo brothers Cohen and Wyatt Chase each won titles.

Cohen won the both the junior 125cc/250cc and National 125cc classes while younger sibling Wyatt won the 13-16 years' 85cc class.

There is no reason to doubt that these same individuals will again be to the fore this weekend, although nobody can take anything for granted in this most unforgiving of sports.

Organised by the Taumarunui Motorcycle Club, the venue will be signposted from the Western Bay Road turnoff, Kuratau Junction, SH41 and SH32.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

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