Top riders battle it out in NZMX second round

High-flying Australian MX1 rider Jed Beaton remarked on the slippery local soil, after winning in...
High-flying Australian MX1 rider Jed Beaton remarked on the slippery local soil, after winning in his first visit to Balclutha yesterday. PHOTO: NICK BROOK
Balclutha buzzed to the sound of the second round of the New Zealand Motocross Championships [NZMX] yesterday.

The latest of four rounds featured top male and female competitors and the biggest names asserting dominance.

West Auckland-based former Takaka rider Hamish Harwood and Australian visitor Jed Beaton duelled hard in the premier MX1 category, for two-stroke motorcycles above 150cc and four-strokes above 250cc.

"The tracks are different here [in New Zealand], tighter with narrower lines", Beaton, who won, said.

"The [Balclutha] soil is different — it’s more slippery underneath ... The Australian series starts later, so New Zealand is a good lead-up. The events are a bit smaller but the culture is the same and the team’s being really well looked after", he said.

Motorcycling New Zealand motocross co-commissioner Sonia Cloke said she was excited to be in Balclutha for some "epic racing".

"The South Otago Motorcycle Club epitomise all that motocross is about", she said.

"[They] continue to provide a track that challenges our riders and provides some great competition over all classes [and] the work and time their volunteers, officials and sponsors [put in] is what makes our championship events what they are."

Balclutha biker Madison Latta said he was pleased with his local qualification effort after an "average" performance in the first round in Rotorua three weeks ago.

"I’m feeling a lot better today thanks to all the support", he said.

Starting from the MX1 gates directly to Beaton’s left, he came in eighth out of 23 riders after about 20 minutes of aerial action and punishing earth-ploughing on his home track.

The NZMX third and fourth rounds will be in Pukekohe on March 23 and New Plymouth on April 13.

— Nick Brook