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Delayed Final Showdown Was Worth Waiting For

Some things are just worth waiting for and the 24-hour delay called before the eventual running of the finale for the 2024 Yamaha New Zealand Motocross Championships in Taranaki is a fine example of that.

The hilly track on Barrett Road, on the outskirts of New Plymouth, suffered a deluge of rain over the days leading up to the scheduled fourth and final round of the series on Saturday – part of the “atmospheric river” that had been creeping up the entire rest of the country – and this drove organisers to announce a 24-hour postponement, with the racing rescheduled for Sunday.

When clear, warm skies greeted riders and spectators alike on Sunday morning, that momentous decision was vindicated, and the racers responded by producing some of the closest and most exciting action of the entire series.

To cut a long story short, West Auckland’s Hamish Harwood followed through on his threat to wrap up the overall win in the premier MX1 class on Sunday, finishing the series a solid 14 points ahead of Australian professional Jed Beaton and 59 points ahead of Invercargill’s rising star Jack Treloar.

It was a similar story for Raetihi’s Karaitiana Horne, with her easily winning the women’s class title ahead of Opunake’s Taylar Rampton and Auckland’s Holly Russell.

West Auckland’s Hamish Harwood (KTM No.153) leads the charge into the second corner in this MX1 class race on Sunday. Photo by Andy McGechan,
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Oparau’s James Scott managed to weather a storm of a different kind in fending off Opotiki’s defending champion Cody Cooper and Australian visitor Caleb Ward to win the MX2 (250cc) class, while Appleby’s Wills Harvey produced a commanding performance to rise up and snatch away the 125cc class title from the young man who had led the class at the start of the weekend, Bombay’s Reuben Smith, and fellow title contender Seth Morrow, from Invercargill.

Meanwhile, Inglewood’s Cameron Hunger wrapped up the overall win in the non-championship MX3 class.

Motorcycling New Zealand motocross co-commissioner and Taranaki Motorcycle Club secretary Sonia Cloke, working alongside fellow commissioner and Pukekohe Motorcycle Club president Stu McCulloch, said she was thrilled to see the weekend and the series end on a high note.

“This has been a fantastic competition,” she said.

“It was incredible that we could race at all today, considering the weather and the rain leading up to the event. The host club here … in fact all the clubs this season … have done an amazing job to get tracks prepared and to stay on top of the grooming and track maintenance. All the riders responded too by producing some truly great racing.”

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 (but run on April 14)

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

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