Oparau's Scott is King of the Mountain for 2020
JANUARY 19, 2020: Two wins from three starts and then a feature race victory, it would be fair to say that Oparau's James Scott is fast approaching top form and ready for his latest international assault.
Although more at home on 125cc and 250cc race bikes, the 18-year-old was thrilled to take a 350cc bike into battle at the annual King of the Mountain Motocross near New Plymouth at the weekend.
Armed with a 2020-model KTM 350 XC-F bike – actually a cross-country model and not a dedicated motocross machine – and up against riders on 450cc machinery, it still didn't take the teenager much time to settle into a winning rhythm and he scored 2-1-1 results on the steep Taranaki track on Sunday, easily winning the glamour MX1 class outright.
It was another good build-up event for Scott before he heads off shortly for a season of racing in Germany and other parts of Europe as well.
He finished 10 points clear of Taupo MX1 ace and former national enduro and cross-country ace Brad Groombridge on Sunday and 21 points clear of the third man on the podium, Raglan's Quade Young.
He then further stamped his authority by also winning the all-capacities King of the Mountain feature race, crossing the finish line ahead of Groombridge and Hawera's multi-time former national motocross champion Daryl Hurley.
Scott's only speed bump in an otherwise flawless display was being forced to settle for runner-up in the first MX1 race of the day, with Mangakino-based Kiwi international Maximus Purvis taking the chequered flag on that occasion.
"I got a terrible start and Maximus simply got away from me," Scott explained.
"I've been using recent races in New Zealand to build up for my European campaign and loved having the extra horsepower of a 350cc bike. It was so much fun to ride, but I will revert back to my 250cc KTM for the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville next weekend (January 25-26) and then the national motocross championships in February and March.
Scott will race for the Raths Motorsports Team and he will be based in Germany, not far from the border with Belgium and the infamous sand track at Lommel. He will race both the German Motocross Championships and also selected European 250cc Motocross (EMX250) Championship events.
"I will be racing EMX 250 championship races on a KTM 250SXF in The Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Belgium and I'm familiar already with two of those circuits.
"I know a lot of the riders I will be up against, having faced many of them before in the past, and I think a top-five result is possible for me."
Scott is supported in New Zealand by KTM New Zealand, Alpinestars, Bell, 100%, Pirelli, BikesportNZ.com and Kiwi Rider magazine.
Credit: Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com