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Harwood to replace injured Carter

MX des Nations 2017

maddix park mx

Team New Zealand's international motocross campaign is back on track.

The three-rider squad due to fly out to the United Kingdom next month to compete at the big annual Motocross of Nations (MXoN) hit something of a speed bump this week when one of the chosen few, Mount Maunganui's Rhys Carter, crashed and injured himself while training.

With just over one month to go before the unofficial Olympic Games of motocross, this latest development could be considered a disaster for the Kiwis, traditionally among the top half of the 35-nation field despite their limited-budget constraints and the geographical tyranny of always having to travel to the opposite side of the planet to compete at the MXoN.

But Golden Bay's Hamish Harwood, two-time and current national MX2 (250cc) champion, immediately made himself available to compete and so the panic is over.

Originally from Takaka, near Nelson, but currently based in Takapuna, where he works as an apprentice builder, Harwood is no stranger to international competition, having raced for New Zealand twice previously – in Latvia in 2014 and again in Italy last year.

With Harwood stepping into the breach, it means that the Team New Zealand make-up for the 2017 MXoN will be identical to the squad that raced its way to 17th overall in Italy last year.

Harwood will be New Zealand's open class rider, joining national MX1 champion Cody Cooper (New Zealand's MXGP class rider for the MXoN) and former national 125cc champion Josiah Natzke (who will be the team's MX2 class rider in the UK).

"We all know how fit Hamish Harwood is," said Team New Zealand manager Bevan Weal, from Taupo.

"He raced two separate classes at the New Zealand nationals this year and he's doing the same in Australia right now. He's race-fit and ready to go.

"It is a shame we lost Rhys because he'd been performing very well lately, but, fortunately, we have been spoiled for choice this year and I believe this new line-up will be just as strong."

New Zealand has been on the MXoN podium on three memorable occasions in recent times; in 1998, 2001 and 2006.

The UK venue for the event this year is at Matterley Basin, not far from Winchester, and that is a circuit that should suit the New Zealand trio.

The year's event, on the first day of October, will be the 71st edition of the great race.

https://i.stuff.co.nz 

 
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