One of the most significant national championships in several years is set to kick off in the Bay of Plenty tomorrow. Taupo will this weekend host the three-day KTM and Kawasaki-sponsored New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships, with more than 330 riders entered. The sandy Digger McEwen Park is the venue for this annual championship weekend, the same place that will also host the Junior World Motocross Championships, adding extra significance to the weekend as riders from New Zealand and abroad chase Kiwi honours but also push for the few treasured spots on the starting gate in August.
Leading candidates for national honours and for Kiwi team selection include Taupo's Cameron Dillon, Mangakino's Kayne Lamont, Wanganui's Tom Managh, Tauranga's Scott Barr-Smith, Wellington's Henry Madams, Rotorua's John Phillips, Kaukapakapa's Josh Jack, Atiamuri's Dion Picard and Rangiora's Isaiah McGoldrick, to name just a few.
In the 85cc classes competition is also likely to be fierce and local riders such as Atiamuri's Hadleigh Knight and Dion Picard, Mitchell and Logan Hilhorst, and Taupo's Wyatt Chase looking forward to racing on their home track. The sand and pumice circuit also features a couple of tricky sawdust sections and several huge jumps, sure to test even the most skilled riders. For overseas riders in particular the course will offer an invaluable insight into what can be expected in August.
Racing at last weekend's warm-up event in Taranaki, the North Island Motocross Championships, showed that young riders such as Dillon, Phillips, Managh, Picard, Otago's Campbell King, Oamaru's Joel Miekle and Hamilton's Josiah Natzke are in top form and they will be hard to beat this weekend.
Entry is free for spectators.