Wednesday 19th December. Mini, MX and Short Trail open from 12.00 until dark.

Honda's Phillips Again Top 250 Man

King of the Mountain 2015

maddix park mx

CAPTION: Rotorua's Mike Phillips (The Honda Shop Racing Team CRF250), top man again on a 250cc bike. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

JANUARY 19, 2015: Winning races is becoming something of a habit now for Rotorua's Mike Phillips and that's not bad at all for a man who is supposed to be retired.

Two-time former national motocross champion Phillips won the MX2 class at Taranaki's King of the Mountain motocross on Sunday and that should be ringing a few alarm bells with the four-round New Zealand Motocross Championships set to kick off at the same venue in less than three weeks' time.

The 28-year-old builder had not been expecting too much from his comeback to top level racing, called in to The Honda Shop Racing Team recently to "keep the seat warm" for injured Tauranga rider Aaron Wiltshier.

But now, after Phillips' stunning performance in winning the MX2 class at the big annual Honda Summercross near Whakatane just after Christmas and his hard-fought MX2 class win at Sunday's annual King of the Mountain motocross in Taranaki, The Honda Shop Racing Team has decided to make his racing contract a little more permanent.

Phillips now readies himself to race the annual Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville next weekend and the four-round national championships that follow soon afterwards, the opening round of that on February 8 on the same hilly circuit that he conquered on Sunday.

"It wasn't easy today," Phillips confessed, eventually winning the class by just one point from Atiamuri's Hadleigh Knight, with Otorohanga's Hayden Kanters rounding out the podium, eight points further back.

"I feel just happy to have finished that last race. It was hard to see in the blinding dust and it was quite dangerous.

"I had to keep Hadleigh in sight and be aware of where he was on the track. I didn't have to beat him in the final race, but I knew I needed to be close, maybe just one place behind him."

In the end, Phillips' score-card was 1-2-2 for the day, enough to edge out Knight, who finished 4-1-1.

"This is a great build-up for me for the nationals." said Phillips.

"I've now had a few wins on the track and finished runner-up at the Valley Motocross Champs (near Morrinsville) last weekend, so I've won a permanent spot on the team. It has been a few good weeks for me.

"That's not too bad for a guy who is supposed to be retired from the sport."

Meanwhile, Mount Maunganui's Rhys Carter won the MX1 class ahead of Queenstown's Scott Columb, with Phillips' younger  brother and Honda team-mate John Phillips third overall.

Auckland's Kurtis Lilly won the senior 125cc class ahead of Ngatea's Ben Broad and Auckland's Sean O'Connor.

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

 
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