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Suzuki Men Make their Move

NZ MX Champs 2016

maddix park mx

Australian visitor Todd Waters is now just three points off the lead in the premier MX1 class after a torrid day of racing at the third round of four in the New Zealand Motocross Championships series near Rotorua at the weekend.

Riding for the Mount Maunganui-based MC2 Suzuki Racing Team, the 25-year-old Queenslander called on all his Grand Prix riding experience to charge up the leader board on Sunday with a solid performance on the rough and hilly track, just off State Highway 30 at Horohoro, the popular venue about 20 kilometres from Rotorua.

Waters began the day 14 points behind series leader and fellow Australian Dean Ferris, but, with a 2-2-3 score-line, Waters finished the day runner-up to local favourite and defending national champion Cody Cooper, putting Waters well within strike range for the title with just one round (three races) to come.

Bay of Plenty's Cooper finished 1-1-2 on Sunday and leads the championships by just three points from Waters.

"It's going to be a good final round," Waters agreed. "Cooper and Ferris are on top of their game and I will need to step it up. I nearly won the day at round two and I was again runner-up today, but behind a different rider. Perhaps I'm saving my best for last," he grinned.

"Hopefully I can pull something out of the bag at the last round."

Waters' MC2 Suzuki Racing team-mate Brad Groombridge, of Taupo, was also impressive on Sunday, finishing the day fifth overall. He is fifth also in the series standings and will be looking forward to racing on home turf at the final round next weekend.

MC2 Suzuki Racing Team manager Andrew Hardisty was naturally delighted with the performance of the Suzuki riders.

"It was a fantastic day for Suzuki," he said.

"The progress today was extremely valuable.

"It comes down to three races now and we know how to win. It's just a matter of converting the right amount of speed into the right amount of points."

Riding for the parallel 3Twenty3 Suzuki Racing Team, Mount Maunganui's Rhys Carter also celebrated a podium finish at Rotorua. See video clip

The 26-year-old crashed out of the day's racing at round one near Timaru in February and was under doctor's orders not to ride at round two in the Manawatu a fortnight ago, but he was back to his best on Sunday to achieve his career-first podium finish in the MX1 class at the nationals.

Carter finished 4-3-6 in his three races on Sunday and, despite scoring no points at the previous two rounds, he is now 14th in the series standings.

"My fitness was not the best because of my time off the bike and that perhaps explains my result in race three, plus I had a couple of close moments, but my aim now is just to achieve some personal milestones, like being on the podium was for me today."

Meanwhile, the MX2 (250cc) and 125cc classes were also given a shake-up on Sunday.

In the MX2 class, it's still Takaka's Hamish Harwood at the top of the championship standings, but it was Mangakino's Kayne Lamont, only eighth equal overall at the start of the day, who came on strong on Sunday, scoring an impressive hat-trick of wins at Rotorua to shoot up to fourth in the rankings.

In the 125cc class, Ngatea's Ben Broad remains the championship leader, but his advantage over Taupo's Wyatt chase has been trimmed from 28 points to 23 after Chase won the day at Rotorua, posting a 1-2-1 score-card.

The fourth and final round of the series is set for the Digger McEwen Motocross Park facility, on the outskirts of Taupo, on Sunday (March 20).

For further information contact Simon Meade, General Manager of Motorcycle / ATV Marketing, [email protected].

Text: Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

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