KTM's Broad Clinches Title in Nailbiting Finish
Ktm's Broad Clinches Title in Nailbiting Finish
Ngatea's Ben Broad (CMR Red Bull KTM), a winner on the track and off it at the weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
APRIL 13, 2015: Ngatea motocross racer Ben Broad has just had the weekend of his life in Te Kuiti.
The CMR Red Bull KTM star had just last month wound up his campaign in the New Zealand Senior Motocross Championships, finishing third overall in the 125cc class behind fellow CMR Red Bull KTM team-mate Josiah Natzke and Taupo Yamaha rider Cohen Chase, but, at age 16, Broad was still eligible to also race the 2015 junior nationals near Te Kuiti at the weekend.
And so he showed up at the spectacular circuit with two bikes, a four-stroke KTM 250SXF and a two-stroke KTM 125SX, determined to break through and win his first junior motocross title, perhaps even two.
He finished third and second in the first two 15-16 years' 125cc class races and then disaster struck as he tangled with another rider in the third race of five.
The other rider's arm had became wedged in the rear wheel of Broad's bike and one of the track marshals let the air out of Broad's tyre so that the arm could be freed. Unfortunately, with his tyre now flat, Broad's race was also over.
Broad was later given an Encounter Sportsmanship Award because he sportingly turned down the event committee's offer of extra points to help make up for the incident.
Broad continued to battle, finishing fourth in the next 125cc race, but the episode in race three had virtually ruined any chance he had of earning an overall podium finish and so he decided to abandon his 125cc campaign after four races so that he could concentrate more fully on his bid for the premier 250cc title.
The 250cc class had produced some of the closest racing all weekend.
Broad had posted a 2-1-7-1 results through the first four 250cc class races, while his main rival, Cambridge rider Trent Collins, had a 3-2-1-2 scorecard.
This meant just three points separated Collins and Broad as the riders lined up for their last clash of the weekend.
The scenario was chillingly simple – whichever one of these two riders won that final encounter would take the title.
Broad led from start to finish, while Collins found himself back in fourth position. But, with just a couple of laps remaining, Collins had passed the riders ahead of him – Te Puke's Tyler Steiner and Otorohanga's Aaron King – and started to try and hunt down Broad.
With Broad at this stage clocking lap times two seconds quicker than Collins, all the Cambridge man could hope for would be for Broad to make a mistake.
He didn't and Broad won the race by seven seconds from runner-up Collins and that result meant the two riders ended the championships level on points.
However, Broad was awarded the overall win thanks to the count-back rule, having scored more wins over the three days and also, perhaps most importantly, because he had won that final race.
With his first national title and a sportsmanship award to go with it, the Hauraki Plains College pupil certainly had a weekend to be proud of.
"After my crash and finishing seventh in one race on Saturday, I didn't think it would be possible to recover and win the title," said Broad. "I lay on the track, winded, for quite some time.
"It was hard, too, switching back and forth from a 250cc four-stroke to a 125cc two-stroke all the time, so the decision to concentrate just on the 250cc class was an easy one to make.
"I was six points behind Trent (Collins) at the start of Sunday and I just had to win both the 250cc races to get the title. It was that simple.
"The last couple of laps of that last race seemed the longest of my life.
"I have won a mini motocross title in the past, back in 2005, but never in the junior ranks, although I've finished second a few times. This is the best feeling ever."
In all, KTM riders won six of the seven classes at the championships.
Reefton's Bailey Banks (KTM 125SX) won the 12-14 years' 125cc class; Mangakino's Maximus Purvis (KTM 85SX) won the 13-16 years' 85cc class; Dunedin's Grason Veitch (KTM 85SX) won the 11-12 years' 85cc class; Kaiapoi's Cobie Bourke (KTM 85SX) won the 8-10 years' 85cc class and Napier's Luka Freemantle (KTM 65SX) won the 8-11 years' 65cc class.
The only class to elude the KTM contingent was the 15-16 years' 125cc class where Taupo Yamaha rider Wyatt Chase was dominant.