Sunday 16th December: Mini & MX open. There is some rain damage on the MX and it will be wet and slippery in some places but it is ride able. Free sausage sizzle at 12.00.

NZ Champs to be Decided

Trials in Nelson

maddix park mx

www.mnz.co.nz

OCTOBER 20, 2014: With seven consecutive national moto trials championships to his name, it would be a brave person indeed to bet against Wellington’s Jake Whitaker making it seven in a row this weekend.

The 23-year-old Kiwi international, who also boasts three Australian moto trials championship titles in his impressive résumé, is obvious favourite to win the top prize at the New Zealand Moto Trials Championships near Nelson this Labour Weekend.

When Whitaker earned his record-equalling seventh national title last season, it put him level in the history books with Napier’s Warren Laugesen and he would like nothing better than to own the record alone as an eight-time champion.

But Whitaker will also face perhaps his biggest threat this coming weekend when 21-year-old world No.13 Jack Sheppard arrives from Ipswich, in Suffolk, England, to keep him honest at the MTF Nelson Vehicle Finance-sponsored three-day event.

In addition to international star Sheppard, Whitaker will again need to respect perennial challengers Karl Clark, from Motueka, Nelson’s Nick Oliver, Rotorua’s John Haynes and New Plymouth’s Matt Foster if he hopes to retain his Expert grade title.

“Jake will certainly have his work cut out,” said event organiser Greg Cox.

“I expect the main battle will be between Jake and Jack, but it’s the largest field we’ve seen in recent years in the Expert grade and nobody can take anything for granted.

“The courses we’ve set over the three days are quite varied. It will go from open grass, to rocks and creek beds and there will be a man-made section too, with concrete pipes on a flat-bed trailer.”

Competition is also expected to be tight in the A Grade, Intermediate, Presidents’, Women’s, Clubmans’ and Junior divisions.

Leading A Grade riders will likely include last year’s champion, Jacob Gundry, of Tauranga (pictured above), Howick’s Liam Draper and Wellington’s Carl Robson.

Gundry doubled up to also tackle the Junior grade last season and it came as no surprise that he won this title as well, finishing ahead of Te Puke’s Ben McLeod.

Motueka’s Daniel Clark will be determined to defend his Intermediate grade title, with his biggest threat likely to be last season’s runner-up, David Trewin, from Kaikoura.

Nelson’s Stephen Oliver could be the man to watch in the Presidents’ grade, while Tauranga’s Gabby Gundry will no doubt put her recent international experience to good use as she attempts to defend her Women’s class crown.

Balance, bravery and throttle control is the main emphasis for this unique motorcycle competition. Speed is not essential, with the prime aim instead being to conquer extreme terrain without touching feet on the ground or falling off.

Points are lost for these “faults” and the rider with the lowest score wins.

The venues are:
Day 1 – Drummond Farm, 32 Riwaka Valley Road, Riwaka, Nelson.
Days 2 & 3 – Hickmontt Farm, 35 Riwaka-Kaiteriteri Road, Riwaka, Tasman.

 
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