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Flat Out on the Flat

NZ TT Champs

maddix park mx

www.mnz.co.nz It combines horsepower with heroics, demands both boldness and bravery, couples speed with stamina and mixes torque with technique ... it is the motorcycle community’s annual New Zealand TT Championships.

TT racing is like superbike racing on soil instead of tarmac – the racing is off-road and the competitors use dirt bikes but, unlike motocross, there are no steep hills or jumps to slow things down – and there should be some very close and exciting action on the flat, natural terrain course near Kuratau, at the southern tip of Lake Taupo, this Saturday and Sunday.

The entry list includes the stars of motocross, cross-country, enduro and even road-racing, All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and super motard and they will hit eye-watering speeds as they chase glory at this 14th annual national TT championships.

Wairarapa’s Mason Wilkie dominated this event last season – taking five wins from five starts in the premier bike class – but he has since moved from Masterton to Christchurch and commitments to his new work will keep him from making the trip north.

Wilkie was pushed all the way last season by Waitakere’s Ethan Martens, while Taupo’s former national TT champion Brad Groombridge also featured and it’s likely to be the same riders who battle it out at the Bike Torque-sponsored event this time around as well.

Former motocross world champion Ben Townley, of Tauranga, will rate as a fresh favourite, despite this being his first crack at the event.

Other top national-level riders such as BikesportNZ.com’s Scotty Canham, of Rotorua, Otorohanga’s Hayden Kanters, Auckland’s James Ainsworth, Upper Hutt’s Jayden Jessup, New Plymouth’s Mitch Rowe, Ngatea’s Luke Temple, Atiamuri’s Dion Picard, Ohaupo’s Campbell Bailey, Masterton’s Sam Pottinger and Whanganui super motard hero Glen Haden should also feature among the leaders at this two-day event.

In the premier all terrain vehicle (ATV) class, Amberley’s Ian Ffitch was the big winner last season.

Although he was pushed all the way, a cool head under pressure gave the vastly experienced 43-year-old the advantage where it counted and he won the final race of the weekend to snatch the title ahead of Rotorua’s Jason Jepson and Stratford’s Camo Keegan.

Ffitch will be among the ATV favourites again this weekend.

Organised by the Taumarunui Motorcycle Club, the venue will be signposted from the Western Bay Road turnoff, Kuratau Junction, SH41 and SH32.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

 
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