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Levin Honda Star Breaks Through For NZ Title Win

The gloves came off at the 2024 New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships in the Manawatu/Horowhenua region at the weekend, with Honda star Phoenix Van Dusschoten landing most of the big punches.

While the boxing analogy might not be quite right, it was certainly the teenager from Ohau, just south of Levin, who stood tallest when the final rounds played out on Sunday afternoon.

Racing for the Motul Honda Racing Team, the just-turned 16-year-old first set tongues wagging on Friday when he won the first two of five races in the premier 14-16 years’ 250cc class, setting a benchmark that only a few of his rivals might match.

Van Dusschoten took his immaculately prepared fire-engine red Honda CRF250R to finish second, behind Karaka’s Dayden Draper, in the first of his two races the following day, before winning the fourth of five races in the championship later that afternoon.

Levin’s Phoenix Van Dusschoten (Honda CRF250R), on his way to winning the premier 14-16 years’ 250cc class title at the 2024 New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships at the weekend. Photo: Andy McGechan,

All that was left now was for Van Dusschoten to finish among the top six rides in his fifth and final race on Sunday to clinch his first New Zealand title.

And that’s just what he did, settling for third in that race, behind Draper and Australian visitor Kayden Strode, more than enough for Van Dusschoten to prevail in the end.

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“I’m still able to race the junior grades until I turn 17 early next year, but it’s still good to win this title now,” said Van Dusschoten afterwards.

“I’ve been trying to win a title for a few years, but now I’ve got the job done.

“I had issues with my goggles in the third race and got passed by Hayden on the last lap. I wanted to win every race, but getting those early wins gave me some breathing space.

“I knew what I had to do on Sunday. The pressure was off, but I still wanted to go for the win, just to make sure. Kayden is a good mate too, so to create a Honda 1-2 championship result with him is pretty special.

“We’re fierce rivals on the track but good mates off it.

“I want to thanks all my friends and supporters who helped make this possible.”

Meanwhile, the consistency also shown by fellow Honda star Strode was the key to him finishing the championship overall runner-up, making it a Honda 1-2 for the class.

The 16-year-old Strode, from Melbourne, achieved a 2-2-3-2-2 scoreline for the three-day event, enough to clinch the No.2 step on the final podium.

Other class winners at the weekend were Silverdale’s Seth Morrow (15-16 years’ 125cc class); Tauranga’s Levi Townley (12-14 years’ 125cc class); 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); Verhoeven (8-11 years’ 65cc class); Raetihi’s Karaitiana Horne (12-16 years’ girls’ 125/250 class); Whangarei’s Hannah Perris (12-16 years girls’ 85cc class) and Dargaville’s Kody McDermott (8-11 years girls’ 85cc class).

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

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