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Home-town advantage and knowledge of how the newly rebuilt South Otago Motorcycle Club’s Riverside Reserve course flows should help Otago riders such as Madison Latta, of Balclutha, and Sam Cuthbertson, of Dunedin. The duo will line up in the elite MX1 and MX2 classes against a bevy of hotshots from the North Island and beyond for the only South Island round of the four-round national series.
“It’s a good permanent track and I’ve raced on it many times. I’ve known the guys I will be racing against for many years now and I’m going there hoping to win,” he said.
He will be competing in all four national rounds and has ramped up his training in recent months as he prepares for the series.
“I’ve been riding my Honda CRF450 two to three times a week, doing gym work, road cycling and mountain biking as I plan for a top-five finish this year.”
Latta said it was good to have the national championship back in the South Island and to have it at his home track was a real bonus.
“It helps that I know this track well, much better than the North Island ones I rode on recently, but my MX2 class is stacked full of really fast riders so it will be great racing,” he said.
He believes experience gained during his recent national super-cross campaign should help him as he lines up to face the northern raiders.
These include Aucklander Hamish Harwood, who dominated the MX1 class at last weekend’s 59th annual New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville, Australian ace Kirk Gibbs, Waitakere’s Ethan Martens and New Zealand MX1 champion Cody Cooper, of Mount Maunganui, who is coming back from a recent injury.
Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis won the MX2 class at the NZMGP and joining him in Balclutha will be Taupo’s Wyatt Chase and Mount Maunganui’s Josiah Natzke.
There will be three main championship classes racing tomorrow: MX1, MX2 and MX125, with MX3 and Yamaha YZ65 cup races in support.
Club president Adam Robertson said it was a great honour for the small club to host the first round of the nationals.
“We have been working hard on this for more than a year now, helped along by many great local sponsors, the Clutha District Council and people such as Ben Townley, who has been a strong advocate for us to promote the track as a suitable national venue, which is great for the community.’’
To get the Riverside Reserve track at Balclutha up to nationals standard the club has redesigned the track, re-sited and gravelled the pits area, installed a four-bay wash point and installed an on-site watering system for dust suppression.
Much hard work has been done by a small group of workers.
Racing starts from 9am tomorrow.