Thursday, March 24

MOTOCROSS NATIONALS REACH CLIMAX

Hamilton’s Darryll King (Yamaha)
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

A homecoming of sorts may be just the psychological lift that Darryll King needs to race his way to yet another national motocross crown on Sunday.

The fourth and final round of the Demon Energy New Zealand Motocross Championships is set for New Plymouth’s Barrett Road Motorcycle Park on Sunday and that suits former Taranaki man King right down to the ground.

Now living in Hamilton, many-time New Zealand champion King grew up and honed his incredible skills on the Taranaki turf before branching out to take on the motocross world in the 1990s.

After the first two rounds of this year’s championships he was leading the MX2 (250cc) class and, following round three near Rotorua last weekend, he is still in contention. Although he’s now slipped to second spot, King is only two points behind Australian visitor Daniel McCoy (Suzuki).

Meanwhile, in the MX1 (open) class, Motueka’s Josh Coppins (Yamaha) had his championship lead shaved to just one point by an on-form Cody Cooper (Suzuki) last weekend and it will be a tooth-and-nail battle between these two Kiwi internationals on Sunday to see who takes the title.

Rotorua’s Michael Phillips (Honda) is very close behind Coppins and Cooper and will pounce on any mistakes made by his rivals on Sunday.

In the 125cc and under-21 years’ classes, raced concurrently but scored separately, it has almost been a one-horse race with Waitakere youngster Ethan Martens (Yamaha) winning seven of the nine 125cc races thus far.

Although it’s highly unlikely, Tauranga’s Scott Barr-Smith (KTM), Rotorua’s Cam Negus (Yamaha) and Wanganui’s Tom Managh, (Suzuki) are all mathematically close enough to snatch one or both of those titles for themselves.