NZ’s Harwood Again Stirs up the Australians
NZ’S HARWOOD AGAIN STIRS UP THE AUSTRALIANS
SEPTEMBER 1, 2014: New Zealand’s Hamish Harwood is making international headlines again this season and the KTM star has plans to make a few more before the year is out.
The teenager from Takaka, near Nelson, won his first Australian title in 2013 when he collected the national MX Development (under-19) crown and he showed he was a contender to make it two Australian titles in a row this year, even though he had stepped up a grade.
The 19-year-old posted another solid performance at the final round of the 2014 Australian Motocross Championships at Coolum, in Queensland, at the weekend and it was enough for him to finish the 10-round series in runner-up spot overall in the MX2 (250cc) class.
Harwood took his CMR Red Bull KTM 250 to finish 8-6-5 in his three outings on Sunday, clinching the No.2 spot in the championship overall, albeit finishing 47 points adrift of factory rider Luke Clout.
Essentially a privateer rider, operating out of a small van at the back of the pits, Harwood battled through a tough and unforgiving season that saw him have to overcome several injuries, but determination and consistency were his strengths.
Harwood’s never-say-die attitude was perhaps never more evident than in the final race of the championship on Sunday.
Husqvarna’s Luke Arbon, who had been in the No.2 spot at the start of the day, crashed out early in the day’s final MX2 race and, despite Harwood also getting “bitten” by the rough track just a few moments later, the Kiwi hero recovered from his spectacular crash to finish the race and pocket the points he needed.
“I just knew I had to get back on the bike as soon as I could (after crashing),” said Harwood.
“I took a bit of a knock to the head and was a little dizzy, but there was a championship position at stake.”
Harwood needed to gain 23 points or more (for an eighth placing or higher) to finish in second overall for the championship and that seemed assured as he battled between fourth and sixth place over the course of the 12-lap race – eventually finishing the race in fifth spot.
“It has been a tough campaign,” said Harwood. “I had to ride with a partially dislocated shoulder after a spill at round nine and I had a problem with my wrist since Raymond Terrace (round eight at the start of August).
“I was really struggling to attack the bumps at Coolum. I was just sort of collapsing in them.
“It’s definitely good to finish second in Australia this year. I’m pretty stoked with that.
“I had a few problems to deal with but I guess other riders had a few problems too and perhaps my problems weren’t as bad as those experienced by a few other riders,” said the modest Harwood, perhaps obliquely referring to fellow Kiwi Kayne Lamont, the Mangakino rider who had led the MX2 standings through the early part of the championship before crashing out of the series at round eight.
Meanwhile, fellow New Zealander Hamish Dobbyn finished 5-5-19 in the three MX2 races on Sunday.
Dargaville’s Dobbyn (CMR Red Bull KTM) was an infrequent rider across the Tasman this season and so was not a title contender.
Harwood now prepares to join Dobbyn as two-thirds of New Zealand’s Motocross of Nations team to Latvia in just over three weeks’ time. The other member of the New Zealand squad is Queenstown’s Scott Columb.
Credit: Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com