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Elite Racers Rise To The Challenges At Pukekohe

The nation’s elite rose to the many challenges presented to them at round three of the 2024 Yamaha New Zealand Motocross Championship near Pukekohe on Saturday.

With rain setting in early in the day, MR Motorcycles Raceway at Harrisville, just a few kilometres south of Pukekohe, was quickly turned into an extraordinarily difficult, slippery and deeply-rutted obstacle course, so much so that even a “look lap” prior to each race proved to be too much for some of the riders.

But, with this being a New Zealand championship, the ultimate series on the Kiwi motocross racing calendar, it played right into the hands of the nation’s elite riders, individuals who not only tamed the course, but even excelled on it, putting on a spectacular display in the process.

West Auckland-based former Takaka rider Hamish Harwood was the most impressive among these talented riders on Saturday, finishing the day unbeaten in the premier MX1 class and extending his lead to a solid 17 points over visiting Australian Jed Beaton.

Oparau’s James Scott was similarly impressive in the MX2 (250cc) class, taking over the championship lead from defending champion Cody Cooper, of Opotiki, while visiting Australian Caleb Ward also shone out by finishing the day runner-up.

New Plymouth’s Rian King finished fourth overall in this MX2 class on Saturday, just behind Cooper, and strengthened his position in the class-within-a-class contest for Under-19 honours. King has now moved up to share the U-19 class lead with Invercargill’s Jack Symon.

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Bombay’s Reuben Smith pushed out his lead in the 125cc class to nine points over his two main challengers, Auckland-based former Invercargill rider Seth Morrow and Appleby’s Wills Harvey, while Raetihi’s Karaitiana Horne boosted her advantage in the women’s class to 26 points over Opunake’s Taylar Rampton.

Meanwhile, Inglewood’s Cameron Hunger continues to lead the non-championship MX3 class.

Host Pukekohe Motorcycle Club president and Motorcycling New Zealand motocross co-commissioner Stu McCulloch said it was an honour for his club to host this event.

“The weather gods were against us, but my team excelled to pull the event out of the bag,” he said.

“It was awesome to see all the teams set up and amazing to see such a large number of spectators supporting the event.

“So that’s round three over. Now we head down to Taranaki for round four and we wish Taranaki all the best for their event.”

The fourth and final round is on the outskirts of New Plymouth on April 13.

In addition to Yamaha Motor New Zealand, other key financial backers for the 2024 season include Fox, Pirelli, Alpinestars, Motomuck and Grassroots Trust, all offering great support to the popular annual series.

2024 Yamaha Motor NZ Motocross Championship calendar:

Round 1, Rotorua, February 3, 2024

Round 2, Balclutha, February 25, 2024

Round 3, Pukekohe, March 23, 2024

Round 4, Taranaki, April 13, 2024

Credit: Words by Andy McGechan,

© Scoop Media

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