There will be plenty of stories to come from this years MX Nationals, the highs and lows that are needed for the best of tales.
Over shadowing them all has to be the MX1 class heart break that saw last years Champion taken out of the game not once but twice before dropping the bombshell of his decision to retire from professional racing.
Against that goes the incredible satisfaction of the new Champ, Cody Cooper, who seemingly overcame all the demons of his past to take nearly every holeshot and race win on offer, triumphing gloriously over an array of world class riders to keep the title in Kiwi hands.
We became personally involved in the 125cc class this year when Logan Blackburn came to help us out on the coaching circuit while heavily involved in an intense battle for the Championship. The final round at Taupo was where it all came to a head with Cameron Vaughn edging Logan out by just one point to take the title in what must have been very sweet victory for Cam, and a huge “if only” for Logan.
Even the MX3 ‘Support’ class proved drama worthy with the crowning and subsequent retirement from Nationals racing of the man who came so close to death such a short time ago, Tony Cooksley.
And who would have thought the MX2 class could have been so up and down. With so many different race winners and no one person truly dominating, it was everyones chance to get excited and the final round was certainly no exception.
My dramas were headed by some front brake problems that brought me in to the pits a few times in qualifying, causing a series of unscheduled training sprints from my long suffering and most excellent mechanic, James Ashton. Fortunately I was able to get in a pair of fast laps that were enough to qualify me in seventh instead of being outside the top 20.
Unfortunately a lack of focused training over the past few week showed in the first race with some very silly mistakes that took me from what should have been a podium finish to being outside of the top ten. Then there was controversy in the second race as I made my way up to a fifth place finish which set the scene for a fairly intense final moto.
I was determined to prove myself off the start in race three and got off to a flyer, holding the inside line to take the holeshot. I was passed by an on fire John Phillips before Brock Winston, the Aussie who was to become the new #2 passed me, followed by Rhys Carter.
But Brock didn’t pull away, and in an attempt to pass him we collided in mid air where my bike must have half ripped his exhaust off. And what I didn’t realize was that Scotty Columb, who still needed to score some points to win the championship had had to recover from a crash in the first turn, while Daryl King ended up hurt from a collision that involved my team mate Kieran Scheele.
As it finished, Australian Ryan Marmont amassed enough points to take over eighth position from Kieran, who had been in a shoot out for seventh coming into the final race and despite an impressive fifth place in that last race still ended the series in ninth overall.
Thanks to Daryl’s mishap I ended fifth overall, with Ethan Martens in fourth, Rhys in third and Brock second, with Scotty finally getting that elusive Championship. A great way to top off the mountains of hard work that both riders and organizers alike have worked for.
Backflips Clothing, MNZ, the motorcycle clubs and other sponsors involved will have plenty to be pleased with, as I know the many spectators that were at the events or have seen the video footage were treated to a great show. I know as a rider there was plenty to enjoy so I just want to say a special thanks to Honda NZ, my mechanic Jimmy along with my wonderful wife for their massive support this year. With Gods grace we will be back for another go next year!