The pendulum has swung back in favour of the New Zealanders.
The Kiwi hosts came under fire from the Australian invaders at the second round of four of the 2019 New Zealand Motocross Championships in Rotorua just over a week ago, but the Kiwis hit back hard at round three near Pukekohe on Sunday.
Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper and Gold Coast rider Kirk Gibbs had been level on the premier MX1 class points table at the start of racing at the MR Motorcycles Raceway at Harrisville at the weekend, but Cooper compiled a 1-1-2 score-card on Sunday, and Gibbs responded by finishing 2-2-1 in the three MX1 races and so Cooper now enjoys a three-point advantage as the Fox apparel-sponsored competition now heads to Taupo for the final round in two weeks’ time.
It was a similar story in the MX2 (250cc) class, with West Auckland’s Hamish Harwood finishing 2-1-3 in his three outings, while his nearest challenger, Cairns rider Wilson Todd, won the day's first MX2 race but then crashed out of race two and did not start race three.
This means Harwood, from Royal Heights, has boosted his lead at the top of the class from three points over Todd to now be 35 points ahead of the new second-ranked rider in the class, Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis.
Meanwhile, dual-class ironman Harwood remains unbeaten in the 125cc class and he is now a whopping 57 points clear of his nearest threat, Ngatea’s Ben Broad, meaning (with a race win worth 25 points) Harwood now has more than two races up his sleeve with just three more to come in the class at Taupo’s final round.
"All-in-all I had a pretty good day, except that last MX2 race, when I blew the start and was back in about 15th position," said Harwood.
"It's a really hard track to pass on and so I was pumped to be able to fight my way through and catch up to the leaders.
"In an ideal world, I'd like to go on now and win both titles. That's the aim anyway. I'm looking forward to Taupo."
Purvis continues to lead the MX2 class battle-within-a-battle for Under-19 age group honours and he is now 13 points ahead of Australian Morgan Fogarty, with Hamilton's Reef Wheki still third.
As an exciting extra feature for the Pukekohe weekend only, the inaugural Yamaha YZ65 Cup competition was included in the senior championship programme, with an impressive line-up of 24 young riders given the thrill of sharing the spotlight with the seniors. Best of this bunch was Tauranga’s Levi Townley, followed by Hastings rider Charlie Schaw and Featherston’s Teddy Shaw.
There is just a two-week break before the fourth and final round of the Fox New Zealand Motocross Championships, set for Taupo’s Digger McEwen Motorcycle Park on March 10.
Harrisville's round three of the Fox 2019 New Zealand Motocross Championships was additionally supported by Ebbett Pukekohe. Yamalube is set to support round four at Taupo.