Top male, female riders in action

The second round of the New Zealand Motocross Championships takes place in Balclutha tomorrow and the race action is expected to be red hot.

This first of four rounds in the series took place near Rotorua three weeks ago, delivering exceptional entertainment. Three of the four championship classes produced multiple race winners, and more of the same can be expected during round two in Balclutha tomorrow.

West Auckland-based former Takaka man Hamish Harwood and Australian visitor Jed Beaton secured wins in the premier MX1 class, and Mount Maunganui’s Josiah Natzke was also impressive in finishing overall runner-up.

Oparau’s James Scott, Australian visitor Caleb Ward and defending national MX2 champion Cody Cooper, of Opotiki, shared wins in the MX2 (250cc) class and Appleby’s Wills Harvey and Invercargill rider Seth Morrow took the wins in the 125cc class. Bombay’s Reuben Smith was also a standout.

In the senior women’s championship, being run in conjunction with the men’s competition and for the first time over all four rounds, Australian visitor Taylah McCutcheon and Raetihi’s Karaitiana Horne celebrated race victories at Rotorua.

McCutcheon has since returned home, but riders such as Rotorua’s Letitia Alabaster, Opunake’s Taylar Rampton and Rotorua’s Mel Patterson will not be shy in stepping forward.

Motorcycling New Zealand motocross co-commissioner Sonia Cloke said she was delighted with how it all turned out at Rotorua and expected more of the same at Balclutha tomorrow.

"After a successful round one of the 2024 motocross championships three weeks ago in Rotorua, we are all excited to get down to Balclutha and some more epic racing," she said.

"The South Otago Motorcycle Club has been working tirelessly to ensure that all our sponsors, teams, volunteers and riders will be well looked after.

"We are positive that the event will be well supported and continue to provide a track that challenges our riders and provides some great competition over all our classes.

"This is the first time that senior women are included in all four rounds of the championships and to have nine entries in this class is a testament to the work that the MX Commission and the Women’s Commission have previously undertaken for women in motorcycling."

After racing at Balclutha, the series then takes riders north again, Pukekohe hosting round three at Harrisville on March 23.

The fourth and final round is set for the Barrett Rd facility on the outskirts of New Plymouth on April 13.

By Andy McGechan