Wednesday, January 11

SUPERCROSS HEADS TO A CLIMAX

Aussie Ace Geran Stapleton
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

The New Zealand Supercross Championships are set for a thrilling conclusion in Taupo this Saturday afternoon.

And one of the riders determined to make sure it will be a thriller is first-time visitor to New Zealand Geran Stapleton, the young Australian supercross ace who finished runner-up in the under-19 class across the Tasman last season.

The teenager from Rosebud in Victoria is currently in the runner-up position in the Kiwi series too, but hopes to alter that in his favour when the series wraps up in the Backflips clothing-sponsored event in Taupo on Saturday.

Stapleton is 16 points adrift of Queenstown Suzuki hero Scott Columb and possibly needs a miracle run to topple to Kiwi former supercross champion.
Stapleton and Columb have between them shared all the wins.

Stapleton has twice beaten Columb in the six races thus far, but Columb has taken the chequered flag on the other four occasions and, perhaps most significantly, finished runner-up the other two times, while Stapleton has finished as low as fourth and fifth in his other races.

Meanwhile, Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper (Suzuki) is primed to wrap up the open class crown at Taupo on Saturday.

He enjoys a solid 15-point advantage over last year’s No.2 man, Christchurch Honda rider Justin McDonald, while Taupo Honda rider Brad Groombridge will be hoping for hometown support to move up from third in the series standings.

Timaru’s Josh May (Honda, junior 250) and Hamilton’s Josiah Natzke (Yamaha, junior lites) lead their respective classes, although they will likely come under intense pressure from their rivals at Taupo.

Wellington’s Josh Bartosh and Nelson’s Liam Hutton could steal points from May, while Natzke should be concerned by riders such as Winton’s Kyle Hartley and Broomfield’s Blake James.