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61st Annual Woodville Motocross Delivers The Goods

JANUARY 29, 2023: It was worth the wait … after a two-year hiatus being forced on organisers, due to elements beyond their control, the return to premier motocross racing at the 61st annual New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville at the weekend was naturally greeted with much enthusiasm.

It’s possible to describe this year’s big Honda-sponsored event as a massive Trans-Tasman challenge, with the premier MX1 class mostly a two-rider battle between Australian import Jed Beaton and Kiwi former national No.1 and former outright Woodville winner Hamish Harwood, from Royal Heights in West Auckland.

It was a Trans-Tasman challenge also because the event also boasted a unique New Zealand versus Australia competition for the females, the inaugural FIM Oceania Women’s MX Cup included within the weekend’s jam-packed programme.

To cut a long story short, Harwood scored a remarkable clean-sweep of wins to dominate the men’s MX1 class and Australian heroine Charli Cannon led her six-rider contingent to victory in the Oceania women’s contest. It was win-some, lose-some for the friendly Australasian rivals.

The racing across all the various classes – juniors and veterans racing on Saturday and seniors and women racing on Sunday – was scintillating, edge-of-the-seat stuff, with little to separate the eventual champions from those who were giving them chase.

Oparau’s James Scott did not win any of his three races in the MX2 (250cc) class, but proved consistency counts most as this factor handed him the class trophy (by just one point).

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Scott finished with a 2-2-3 scorecard on Sunday, while Tauranga’s Madoc Dixon finished 1-8-1 over the three MX2 races, his eighth placing in race two obviously costing him dearly in the end. National MX2 champion Cody Cooper, from Opotiki, took the third podium spot in this class with a 3-1-10 score-card.

Several fresh names appeared atop the standings in other categories, showing perhaps that New Zealand’s many rising stars have indeed now found their way to the top.

Appleby teenager Will Harvey won both the senior 125cc class and also the Roddy Shirriffs Memorial Trophy, as the youngest senior class winner aged under 19, while Invercargill youngster Jack Treloar, aged just 20, managed to finish third overall, behind experienced international riders Harwood and Beaton, in the MX1 class for 450cc racers.

Former Invercargill racer Seth Morrow, now based in Auckland, impressed by winning the junior 15-16 years’, 125cc class on Saturday and then backed that up by finishing third overall in the senior 125cc class the following day, while Levin’s Phoenix Van Dusschoten won the junior 14-16 years’ 250cc class on Saturday and then managed sixth overall in the talent-laden senior MX2 class the following day.

Motorcycling New Zealand (MNZ) co-commissioner Sonia Cloke was impressed with the weekend.

“The past two days of racing were an absolute credit to the Manawatu Orion Motorcycle Club. After the challenges of the past couple of years and losing Tim Gibbes, the founder of the Woodville motocross, they pulled it out of the bag,” she said.

“The track was superbly prepared, the racing was strong and provided good challenges. For the event to host the first FIM Oceania Women's MX Cup was well-deserved and showed how well-respected the club is in the eyes of MNZ. For a return to racing at Woodville, we couldn't have asked for better.”

Class winners from the weekend’s 61st annual New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville:

Woodville GP seniors and women (Sunday):

Woodville GP: Auckland’s Hamish Harwood (MX1 class and main Woodville GP trophy);

Oparau’s James Scott (MX2 class);

Appleby’s Wills Harvey (MX125 class);

Australia’s Charli Cannon (Senior women);

Auckland’s Chris Power (River Race);

Appleby’s Wills Harvey (Roddy Shirriffs Under-19 trophy).

Team Australia (FIM Oceania Women’s MX Cup).

Woodville GP juniors and veterans (Saturday):

Levin’s Phoenix Van Dusschoten (14-16 years’ 250cc class);

Silverdale’s Seth Morrow (15-16 years’, 125cc class);

Auckland’s Jack Ellingham (12-14 years’, 125cc class);

Tauranga’s Levi Townley (13-16 years’, 85cc class);

Tauranga’s Jaggar Townley (11-12 years’, 85cc class);

Cambridge’s Nico Verhoeven (8-10 years’, 85cc class);

Cambridge’s Nico Verhoeven (8-11 years’, 65cc class);;

Lower Hutt’s Bailey Newbould (Junior women, 12-16 years’ 85cc);

Raetihi’s Karaitiana Horne (Junior women, 12-16 years’ 125cc & over-14 years’ 250cc);

Rongotea’s Isla Nagel (Junior women, 8-11 years’ 85cc);

Whakatane’s Darren Capill (Veterans class).

Credit: Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

© Scoop Media

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