News 10 Mar 2010

Oz MX: Australia wins Oceania Motocross Championship

The team of junior riders representing Australia at last weekend’s Oceania Motocross Championship has arrived home after successfully defeating their New Zealand counterparts.

The 2010 Oceania Motocross Championship was held in Harrisville, New Zealand on 7 March, and Australia’s 15-strong team proved too strong in both the 125cc and 65cc classes, while the honours went to the host nation in the 85cc class.

The riders warmed up for Sunday’s trans-Tasman event by participating in the Auckland Motocross Championships on Saturday, where the Aussie juniors performed well and, more importantly, allowed the riders to familiarise themselves with the Pukekohe track in preparation for Sunday’s main event.

“The track was absolutely fantastic, but it was one where passing was difficult,” Australian team manager Mark Willingham explained. “On the Saturday our riders in the older classes were encouraged to triple, not double, the rhythm section behind the start line, which in the end made a big difference to their performances.”

Willingham was full of praise for not only the Australian riders and their families, but also for hosts Pukekohe Club, the track at Harrisville as well as the general positive vibe permeating throughout the entire event.

“The club was brilliant – each of our riders and their families were billeted out to a host family, which set the tone for what was simply an awesome weekend – undoubtedly one of the best events I’ve ever attended.”

The 2010 Oceania MX Championship, unlike previous years, was held as a Juniors-only event, a format which was well-supported by both countries.

“The fact that it was only Juniors this year was terrific,” Willingham continued.

“It was a great format which seemed to work really well, and provides amazing opportunities for younger riders to represent their country – they were all as keen as mustard!”

In the 125cc class, Matt Phillips impressed by taking out Race One and finishing second in Race Two, Errol Willis led at one stage before finishing third in Race Two, while Kale Makeham’s solid performances helped Australia narrowly claim the class victory by a two-point margin.

Joel Dinsdale was the only Australian to feature on the podium in the 85cc class – he finished third in Race One and second in Race Two – and this enabled New Zealand to claim a four-point class victory.

Contrary to the close results witnessed in the two older classes, the 65cc class was dominated by Australia, where the margin was 20 points after the two races.

Jordan Hill and Hunter Lawrence finished first and second respectively in both 65cc races, while Jackson Williams showed plenty of fight by riding and finishing both races despite suffering a knee injury in Sunday morning’s practice session.

“The young Aussie riders are able to start racing at an earlier age than the New Zealanders, and that was predominantly why the 65cc results turned out the way they did,” Willingham said.

“Otherwise, the racing was extremely tight in both the older classes, as well as being intense and spirited.

“Off the track everyone looked after each other really well, new friends were made and there was some really great relationship-building between both countries.”