NZ TT championships hit the extremes
It could possibly be listed as a new extreme sport, the 2019 edition of the New Zealand Miniature TT Championships at Taupiri over the weekend extreme in so many ways.
Both days started off with chilly conditions and dense fog, visibility reduced to just 30 or 40 metres, but this cleared by mid morning on both Saturday and Sunday and then the days rapidly heated up, warm jackets traded in for sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats.
While the weather traversed both extremes, the racing speeds achieved by the bike racers and the excitement levels reached were extreme too at the Kawasaki-sponsored event, which was jointly run by the Huntly and Patetonga motorcycle clubs.
The pristine grassland track allowed the riders to reach eye-watering speeds, the two-day event near Huntly pushing the racers to their limits as the mostly flat grassland paddock become rougher with each successive race and, despite the terrain’s largely placid and innocuous nature, it still required plenty of fitness and tons of respect from the competitors.
With riders almost equal in the horsepower stakes, it was the riders who started fastest and braked latest who benefitted most and the key individuals who most exhibiting those skills included former national motocross champions Kayne Lamont, David Furze, Mitch Rowe and daughter Mikayla Rowe, just-crowned national junior 250cc motocross champion Jack Dunlop and current national ATV (quad bike) champion Cam Keegan.
Hamilton’s Lamont won both the MX1 and MX2 categories at Taupiri, while New Plymouth’s Mitch Rowe won the over-45 years veterans’ class title and also the Classic pre-2000 bike title, while his Pukekohe-based daughter Mikayla won the women's title; New Plymouth’s Furze won the enduro class title; Pukekawa’s Dunlop topped the junior 14-16 year’s 250cc class and Stratford’s Keegan won the premier ATV crown.
Other title winners were Albany’s Joseph Andrell (125cc class); Oparau’s Hunter Scott (junior 12-16 125cc class); Cambridge’s Jarred Hannon (junior 13-16 years’ 85cc class); Waihi’s Luke Maitland (junior 8-12 years’ 85cc class); Hamilton’s Phillip Goodwright (veterans’ 35-44 years class); Stratford’s Kim Reid (ATV veterans' class); Taupiri’s Phillip Bryan (Classic pre-1996 bikes class); Auckland’s Hayden Draper (mini 65cc class) and Taupiri’s Jayden Bryan (mini 50cc class).
Impressive performances were also seen from the individuals who respectively finished runners-up, each of them keeping the eventual champions honest, and these riders included Te Puke's Tyler Steiner (in the MX1 class); Hamilton's Reef Wheki (MX2); Napier-based Wairoa rider Tommy Watts (in the 125cc class); Ngatea's Cole Dalley (junior 14-16 years' 250cc class); Taupo's Wil Yeoman (junior 12-16 years' 125cc); Paeroa's Ashton Whyte (junior 13-16 years' 85cc class); Pukekohe's Tyler Brown (junior 12-16 125cc class); Waitoki's Troy Holmes (junior 8-12 years’ 85cc class); Hamilton's Aime Roberts (women's class); Te Puke's Dion Steiner (veterans’ 35-44 years class); Auckland's Mark Kiely (premier ATV class) and Stratford's Nicola Reid (ATV veterans' class).
“It was a great couple of days of racing. We had hold-ups with the fog making things difficult, but it all turned out really well in the end,” said the Motorcycling New Zealand steward for the event, Stuart McCulloch.
“I think the organisers have done a great job. Running events such as these is never easy, but they made a superb effort.
“And a massive thanks also to Kawasaki New Zealand for making it possible with their sponsorship of the event.
“The racing has been spectacular and I particularly enjoyed watching the mini riders scooting around. They are, afterall, the future of our sport, he said.