Motorsport: Darryll still King of the world

By Andy McGechan

Hamilton's Darryll King. Photo / Andy McGechan
Hamilton's Darryll King. Photo / Andy McGechan

Multi-time New Zealand motocross champion Darryll King is turning back time. The Kiwi has been making a habit of defying motocross odds over a career spanning more than 35 years.

Not only did the 43-year-old Waikato man successfully defend his national MX2 championship crown this season, making sensational back-to-back title wins at the top domestic level of the sport in New Zealand, but, even more remarkably, he also did that as a man heading into his mid 40s, a feat almost unheard of in this most demanding of sports.

His latest motorcycling adventure is to re-live his heyday years - the Yamaha ace now back racing in Europe where he raced with so much success in the 1990s.

He twice finished runner-up in the 500cc Motocross World Championships, in 1997 and 1998, both times beaten to the main prize by Belgian legend Joel Smets, who was riding a Husaberg at the time.

King won the Australian Motocross Championships open class title three times, in 2001, 2003 and 2004.

King (Yamaha) will tackle the World Veterans' Motocross Championships this weekend, an event that shares the programme with the 14th round of 16 in the Motocross World Championships at Matterley Basin, near Winchester, in southwest England.

"I have come to Europe earlier than I planned. I am staying in Belgium and have a new YZ450F from an old friend and Yamaha dealer, Jos Dophijn, in Antwerpen, Belgium," said King.

"He has just built a new shop and it has five floors. One is a museum with about 50 of his ex-factory machines from the past 20 years.

"The weather here has been hot this week, 31C today, and I have been out riding in that heat," he said.

"Riding sand has been fun and I've had to change a few things on the bike's suspension to be ready for the big jumps I will encounter in England at the World Vets.

"There is going to be some tough competition at the Vets. I've heard that John Dowd from the United States and Marnicq Bervoets and Johan Boonen from Belgium are entered for the event. It's nearly like the old GP days," he said.

- NZ Herald

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