Monday, March 5

CHALLENGERS KEEP MX RESULT IN DOUBT

Title challengers made their presence felt at the third round of four in this season’s New Zealand Motocross Championships near Pukekohe on Sunday.

With three-quarters of the championship in the bag, likely title winners are obvious in at least two of the three classes, but the MX2 (250cc) category is far from settled and the MX1 and dual 125cc and under-21 divisions are also a little uncertain after a hectic day of racing at the Pukekohe Motorcycle Club’s circuit at Harrisville on Sunday.

Tauranga’s Ben Townley (MX1, 450cc class), Hamilton’s Darryll King (MX2, 250cc) and Amberley’s Micah McGoldrick (125cc and under-21) still enjoy a points advantage in their respective categories, even after their title challengers came on strong at Harrisville.Townley extended his lead in the MX1 class thanks to his finishing 1-2-1 on Sunday but an unaccustomed runner-up finish in race two meant his hopes of a clean sweep of wins was dashed.

The man who shattered that dream was long-time friend and rival Josh Coppins, the man from Motueka leading the day’s second MX1 race from start to finish as Townley was left to battle through almost the entire field after a turn-one incident left him on the ground.

With Coppins finishing 2-1-2, the South Islander managed to put a halt to Townley’s win-streak and finish the day 21 points behind Townley in the championship chase, with just the fourth and final round at Taupo in a fortnight (March 18) to wrap up the series.

Townley was clearly the fastest man on the track but his crash in turn one underlined the fact that he can take nothing for granted.

In the MX2 class, 43-year-old defending champion King found himself again coming under fire from Queentown’s Scotty Columb.

The South Islander won the day, his score-card reading 2-3-1, enough to reduce his six-point deficit to just one point as the riders head to the final round in Taupo.

Tauranga’s Peter Broxholme moved up to third position overall for the championship but he is a massive 42 points further back.

In the 125cc class, McGoldrick continues to come under intense pressure from Bay of Plenty pair Cameron Vaughan, of Rotorua, and Tauranga’s Logan Blackburn, but a hat-trick of wins on Sunday strengthened McGoldrick’s position at the top.

McGoldrick is now 26 points ahead of Vaughan – an entire race up his sleeve – with Blackburn in third, a further 29 points behind.

The series heads to Taupo in a fortnight (March 18) for a thrilling final-round climax.