Phillips the Chief in Waikato

Waikato Champs

maddix park mx

CAPTION: Rotorua’s John Phillips (The Honda Shop Racing Team CRF450), on his way to a hat-trick of MX1 class wins near Te Kuiti on Sunday. Photo by Andy McGechan, 

NOVEMBER 3, 2014: Bay of Plenty’s John Phillips means business.

The 21-year-old Kiwi international from Rotorua (Honda CRF450) was at his scintillating best at the annual two-day Waikato Motocross Championships, on the outskirts of Te Kuiti at the weekend, running away to an impressive hat-trick of wins in the premier MX1 class.

Riding for The Honda Shop Racing Team, the farm worker didn’t have it all his own way and had to fight for his wins, with fast-starting Waitakere rider Ethan Martens keeping Phillips honest at the front, but, once in clear air, the Rotorua rider seemed unstoppable.

“I always enjoy racing against Ethan. He’s a safe rider and does nothing silly,” said Phillips.

“I made a few mistakes today but managed to claw my way back from third in race one to take the lead and the win. I had a poor start in race two and then had mud caught up in my rear brakes. I kicked the mud free and put down a bit of a charge.

“I think I managed to pressure (race leader) Ethan Martens into making a mistake and he crashed on the final lap, allowing me to take another win. 

“I tried a few different lines in the third and final race and put a bit of a gap between me and Ethan.

“The bike was brilliant and the Pirelli tyres hooked up perfectly. I’m really looking forward to my next race, probably the Auckland Motocross Championships (near Pukekohe on December 7).”

Phillips’ elder brother, Michael, a two-time former national motocross champion, slipped into a “fill-in role, keeping the seat warm” on the team’s Honda CRF250 in the MX2 class while team regular Aaron Wiltshier, of Tauranga, recovers from injury sustained the previous weekend.

Despite having had very little race time recently, Rotorua’s Michael Phillips still impressed, finishing third overall in the MX2 class on Sunday.

A junior member of The Honda Shop Racing Team squad, Cambridge’s Trent Collins, also had a satisfying weekend, finishing a close runner-up to Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis in the 12-16 years’ 65-85cc class during junior racing on Saturday and then backing that up with a hat-trick of wins in the 12-16 years’ 125cc junior class races on Sunday.

Otorohanga Honda rider Aaron King had a very busy but mixed weekend, winning the junior 14-16 years’ 250cc class with a hat-trick of wins on Saturday, but forced to settle for seventh overall in the senior MX2 (250cc) class and third overall in the senior 125cc class the following day.

The Honda Shop Racing Team is supported by Motul, Dr Trim, Pirelli tyres, Ndub Designs, Alpinestars, Oakley goggles, Bell helmets, Zeta, Pro Circuit, DRC, Talon, Twin Air, Tag, Supersprox, Hinson Clutch, Works Connection, Tsubaki chains, EBC Brakes, Diesel Mechanical and Picton Auto Electrical.


Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

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