Motorsport: King back on form and raring to go

By Andy McGechan

Andy McGechan talks to veteran rider Darryll King post surgery

Hamilton's Darryll King (Yamaha) is hungry to win after his hiatus. Pictures / Andy McGechan, bikesportnz.com
Hamilton's Darryll King (Yamaha) is hungry to win after his hiatus. Pictures / Andy McGechan, bikesportnz.com

Watch out, Waikato's Darryll King is back on track and he means business.

The 44-year-old former New Zealand and Australian motocross champion and the reigning veterans' world champion recently took an extended break from the sport to undergo remedial surgery, but he reports that he's now back on track and ready for action.

The Yamaha star says he required an operation to repair a hernia and also needed work done on his knees, but he's now back on form. He was quickly among the frontrunners at Saturday's fourth annual Battle of the Clubs Motocross in Taupo, the event a fundraiser to assist in sending the three-rider Kiwi squad to the annual Motocross of Nations - the Olympic Games of motocross - in Germany in September.

"I've been a professional motocross racer for at least the past 25 years and so, to be honest, I'll never be like brand new again, but I really wanted to be part of that event. I've been a competitor at the Motocross of Nations for New Zealand in the past and it's a special thing.

I want to do my part to help send a team this year."

King was a member of the Kiwi squad that finished on the podium at Foxhills, in England, in 1998. "We finished third overall that day and that was one of the most memorable moments of my career ... that, and winning the veterans' world championship in England last season.

"There have been a few highlights for me: the Motocross of Nations in 1998; finishing world championship runner-up twice, in 1997 and 1998; and my five grand prix victories, including a special one at Namur, in Belgium, in 1997. This is why I love the sport so much - so many fond memories, so many great times.

"At the moment I'm building up to head back to England at the end of August to defend my world title. That's my ultimate goal for 2013. Then I'll return to contest at least one more season of the New Zealand Motocross Championships, either in the MX1 or MX2 class.

"I'm not sure whether I'll race the Yamaha YZ450F or YZ250 bike this weekend, but I really do need to spend some time on the big four-stroke because that's what I'll race in England. They are both great bikes and I'll just have to see on the day."

The name King has been synonymous with motocross in New Zealand since the early 1980s. New Plymouth-based Shayne King and elder brother Darryll, these days based in Hamilton, shared virtually all the national motocross titles on offer during the 80s and 90s - and they didn't stop there, travelling abroad and claiming titles in other countries, too.

Darryll was Australian national champion in 2001, 2003 and 2004, and twice runner-up in the 500cc world champs. Shayne went one better, winning the world 500cc title in 1996, just three seasons after he first arrived in Europe.

Shayne called time on his racing career at the end of 2007, while Darryll kept going.

Darryll raced a Yamaha YZ250 to win back-to-back New Zealand MX2 crowns in 2011 and 2012, but had to give that up to fellow Yamaha ace Scott Columb (Yamaha YZ250F) this season. He'd like nothing better that to sign off his career with another national title in 2014.

- NZ Herald

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