Monday, January 16

SUPERCROSS SUPERMEN CROWNED

Scott Columb in action
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

There were a ton of thrills, plenty of spills but no real surprises when the New Zealand Supercross Championships wrapped up at Taupo on Saturday afternoon.

Queenstown’s Scott Columb completed the job he started when he dominated round one of the three-round series near Timaru just over two weeks ago, securing the MX2 supercross title with another solid performance at Taupo on Saturday and showing he will certainly be a contender when the motocross nationals kick off in South Canterbury on February 12.

Columb didn’t win the day at Taupo – that honour instead going to fellow Suzuki star Rhys Carter, of Mount Maunganui – but Columb’s 3-1-2 results at Taupo were enough to give him a whopping 18-point championship-winning margin over visiting Australian Geran Stapleton (Honda), while Carter had to settle for third overall in the Backflips Clothing-sponsored championship.

That the 28-year-old Columb should dominate the series as he did was something of a surprise considering he had been off the race scene, sidelined with injury, for nearly two years.

“I’m back, that’s for sure,” beamed Columb afterwards.

“I’m getting into shape now for the motocross nationals. I’m not quite ready for that yet, but I hope to be 100% before February.”

It was a similar display of supremacy from fellow Suzuki star Cody Cooper, the Mount Maunganui man now adding the MX1 supercross crown to the MX1 motocross crown he collected last year.

Cooper won seven of the nine MX1 races in this year’s supercross nationals, beaten only by Christchurch Honda rider Justin McDonald (in the second race in Timaru) and by Motueka Yamaha rider Josh Coppins (in the third race at Motueka).

Cooper finished the series a massive 24 points clear of McDonald, with Gisborne Yamaha rider Matt Hunt clinching third overall with a solid performance at Saturday’s final round.

Junior 250cc class points leader Josh May (Honda), of Timaru, had a scare when he managed only seventh in his opening race at Taupo, but then the 16-year-old cruised to his first national title when he rebounded with 1-2 results in the next two outings.

That gave him a final winning margin of seven points over a hard-charging Josh Bartosh (Honda), the Wellington rider winning the Taupo event in this class with impressive 1-3-1 results.

Hamilton’s Josiah Natzke rode an 85cc Yamaha bored out to 103cc and, despite racing this small two-stroke against the 250cc four-strokes of all the other riders in that class, he nailed down third spot overall.

Natzke also raced an 85cc version of the same bike to clean sweep all nine races in the junior lites class, winning comfortably ahead of fellow Yamaha riders Kyle Hartley, of Winton, and Blake James, of Broomfield.