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Taranaki Venue Will Reveal Championship Winners

April 09, 2024

For so many riders, this weekend’s final round of the 2024 Yamaha New Zealand Motocross Championships in Taranaki will be the most important race meeting of the season.

The four-round series has featured plenty of ups and downs already this year, with close racing and changes aplenty at the top of several categories since the kick-off at Rotorua in February.

But it all now comes down to seeing how the points stack up when dust finally settles on the Barrett Road Motorcycle Park facility, on the outskirts of New Plymouth, this Saturday afternoon.

West Auckland’s Hamish Harwood and visiting Australian Jed Beaton have between them shared all the wins thus far in the premier MX1 class.

As they arrive in Taranaki, Harwood leads Beaton by a healthy 17-point margin, but there is still no room for error by either man on Saturday, with plenty of other riders, such as Invercargill’s Jack Treloar, Kaukapakapa’s Josh Jack and Waihi’s Luke Maitland, capable of springing a surprise.

The steep hillside track needs to be respected because any small mistake will be punished. This popular venue has been a championship graveyard for many notable campaigns in the past.

Oparau’s James Scott leads MX2 (250cc) class, but he has Opotiki’s defending champion Cody Cooper and Australian Caleb Ward nipping at his heels. Each of these three men have won MX2 races at the earlier rounds.

In the MX2 class-within-a-class contest for Under-19 honours, New Plymouth’s Rian King and Invercargill’s Jack Symon share the lead, with Cambridge’s Jared Hannon not too far behind them.

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King, the youngest son of 1996 500cc motocross world champion Shayne King, will no doubt appreciate racing in front of a home crowd.

The 125cc class has also been a feisty affair, with Bombay’s Reuben Smith currently leading the way, but only marginally ahead of two riders ranked second-equal, Auckland-based former Invercargill rider Seth Morrow and Appleby’s Wills Harvey.

The senior women’s class sees Raetihi’s Karaitiana Horne with the biggest lead of any category. She is 26 points ahead of her nearest threat, Opunake’s Taylar Rampton, although Rampton will have the advantage of riding on home turf on Saturday.

Motorcycling New Zealand motocross co-commissioner Stu McCulloch, working alongside fellow commissioner and Taranaki Motorcycle Club secretary Sonia Cloke, said it was going to be a thrilling conclusion to a great series.

“The riders have all shown great commitment again this season to dedicate themselves to travelling the length and breadth of the country and to compete at such an extraordinarily high level,” he said.

“The various host clubs too have all responded, tirelessly working to design, sculpt and maintain such safe-yet-challenging tracks for the riders.

“We wish to acknowledge and appreciate he work put in by the many club volunteers, people who have ensured that this series could flourish and produce such spectacular racing and we appreciate too the support we have received from our sponsors.”

In addition to Yamaha Motor New Zealand, other key financial backers for the 2024 season include Fox, Pirelli, Alpinestars, Motomuck and Grassroots Trust.

2024 Yamaha-Motor NZ Motocross Championships 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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