The Fox Racing New Zealand Motocross Championships begins their North Island segment this weekend with round two hosted by the Rotorua Motorcycle Club at its Highway 30 (Horohoro) track on Sunday.
The championships began earlier this month with their first visit to the Riverside Reserve at Balclutha where defending champion Cody Cooper (Mount Maunganui) made a winning start in the MX1 class.
Cooper rode to three wins from three starts on his Honda CRF450 while his nearest challenger was Yamaha's Australian team leader Kirk Gibbs who recorded a 2-2-3 effort.
Gibbs traded the podium finishes with reigning MX2 champion Hamish Harwood (KTM) of Takaka.
Cooper leads the MX1 class into the Rotorua round with 75 points, from Gibbs on 64 and Harwood on 62.
Tight competition in the MX2 (250cc) category saw Mt Maunganui's Josiah Natzke (Kawasaki), Oparau's James Scott (KTM) and Australian Caleb Ward (KTM) each record an opening round win.
Natzke leads the series on 63 points from Scott on 57, Mangakino's Maximus Purvis (Yamaha) on 56 and Australia's Morgan Fogarty (Husqvarna) next with 47. The strong Australian challenge in the MX2 class also includes KTM team riders Riley and Caleb Ward and Honda's Kyle Webster.
The 125cc 2-stroke class was dominated by Tauranga's Brodie Connolly who rode his Husqvarna to three wins by commanding margins. Firmly established in second place with three runner-up finishes at the opening round is Tauranga's Madoc Dixon (KTM).
Following the Rotorua event the series moves to Hawke's Bay for round three on March 1 and the final is at Taupō's Digger McEwen MX Park on March 15.
NZ Motocross Championship (after round 1):
1 Cody Cooper (Mount Maunganui) Honda, 75pts; 2 Kirk Gibbs (Australia) Yamaha, 64pts; 3 Hamish Harwood (Takaka) KTM, 62pts; 4 Ethan Martens (Auckland) Kawasaki, 46pts; 5 Brad Groombridge (Taupō) Suzuki, 43pts.
MX2 (250cc): 1 Josiah Natzke (Mount Maunganui) Kawasaki, 63pts; 2 James Scott (Oparau) KTM, 57pts; 3 Maximus Purvis (Mangakino) Yamaha, 56pts; 4 Morgan Fogarty (Australia) KTM, 47pts; 5 Dylan Walsh (Christchurch) Yamaha, 44pts.
125cc 2-stroke: 1 Brodie Connolly (Tauranga) Husqvarna, 75pts; 2 Madoc Dixon (Tauranga) KTM, 66pts; 3 Marshall Phillips (Christchurch) Yamaha, 54pts; 4 Zac Jillings (Rongotea) KTM, 48pts; 5 Ben Wall (Ashburton) KTM, 42pts.