KTM’s Harwood Has A Smashing Time At Woodville
JANUARY 30, 2023: West Auckland-based former Takaka rider Hamish Harwood had a smashing time at Woodville at the weekend … literally.
The 61st annual New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville at the weekend is the biggest and best motocross on the Kiwi calendar and that’s where all the sport’s superstars usually come out to play.
In the end it was clear there was one man doing all the playing, multi-time former national motocross champion Harwood, although the fact that he was able to race at all was a mystery.
The CML KTM Race Team rider is a former Woodville GP champion – he previously won there outright in 2020 – and has always been one of the favourites among the sport’s glitterati that attend, but his overall win this year was special indeed.
He had smashed his knuckles on a wooden track-side marker post during the practice/qualify session early on Sunday morning and then, even with blood seeping and drenching the glove on his left hand and the suspicion he’d broken a finger or two, he went on to win all three of his races in the premier MX1 class.
What’s more, the part-time racer and fulltime builder beat Australian professional Jed Beaton, rising Southland star Jack Treloar and another multi-time national champion and three-time Woodville winner Cody Cooper, from Opotiki, in the process.
“It was a great way to start the season, although I have an injury to deal with now,” said Harwood, a 28-year-old married father-of-two.
“The bike is awesome and I’m loving it. I’ve just got to get the body fixed up, but that’s often part of this sport. It wasn’t due to a crash … just me hitting a peg that I didn’t see.”
Medical checks the following day confirmed Harwood’s worst fears and he has a finger broken in two places.
Meanwhile, one of Harwood’s team-mates in the CML KTM outfit, Tauranga’s Madoc Dixon, finished 1-8-1 in the three MX2 races on Sunday, his eighth placing in race two obviously costing him dearly in the end and he had to accept runner-up spot behind winless-but-consistent Oparau rider James Scott.
The 19-year-old Dixon, from Mount Eden in Auckland, said he was simply “racing way over my head” as he tried to recover from a crash on lap two of that fateful race two.
“I also wrecked my goggles in that crash and poor visibility after that led to frustration and also to me crashing a second time.”
He was back as far as 16th on lap four of 11.
Dixon missed out on taking the title by just one point and if he could have pushed further through the traffic jam in race two and improved just one position on the track – finishing seventh instead of eighth – he would have won the day overall.
Others in the CML KTM Racing Team enclosure also shone out, with Bombay’s Reuben Smith racing both the junior 250cc class and senior 125cc classes over the two days and impressing in both instances.
He finished third overall in the junior 250cc class on Saturday and was overall runner-up in the senior 125cc class the following day.
Cambridge’s Nico Verhoeven was also a stand-out, the 10-year-old CML KTM Team rider securing titles in two separate categories during the junior phase of racing on Saturday.
He took his 65cc KTM to win the 8-11 years’ 65cc class and rode an 85cc KTM to win the 8-10 years’ 85cc class as well, finishing unbeaten in both categories.
Verhoeven is already a national age-group champion in Australia and the United States and now has his sights set on competing at the World Junior Motocross Championships in The Netherlands later this year.
Credit: Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com