News 17 Mar 2016

Australians set for NZ motocross showdown

New Zealand championship coming down to the wire for Aussie contenders.

Image: Andy McGechan (BikesportNZ).

Image: Andy McGechan (BikesportNZ).

Australia’s Todd Waters and Dean Ferris will battle right to the end of the 2016 New Zealand Motocross Championship, entering the final round separated by a mere two points.

Ferris, aboard his Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing YZ450F, saw his dream run end at round three near Rotorua on Sunday, having issue in race one before crashing hard in race two and ending his two-round winning streak in the premier MX1 class.

Although pushing hard to limit the damage with a win in moto three, the former MXGP contender saw his 14-point championship lead evaporate and fall into the hands of defending series champion Cody Cooper while Ferris dropped to third in the standings.

“I was closing in on Cooper in the first race and working on finding a way past when I hit a hay bale,” said Ferris. “I ended up finishing third. “Then in the next race I had a huge crash. I cart-wheeled down the hill and my handlebars were all bent out of shape. I managed to salvage some points by riding across the finish line in 18th place.

“I knew I had to put things right in the final race and it was a really close battle between me and Todd and Cody. I put on a massive charge at the end and passed both of them on the big downhill on the last lap. The race win was really important because I needed to limit the damage to my points.”

Due to Ferris’ misfortune, fellow Australian Waters has climbed to within three points of the championship lead behind Cooper following a strong performance at Sunday’s third round.

The MC2 Suzuki Racing Team rider began the day 14 points behind series leader and fellow Australian Dean Ferris, but with a consistent 2-2-3 scorecard, he finished the day runner-up to Cooper, putting him well within strike range for the title.

“It’s going to be a good final round,” said Waters. “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. Hopefully I can pull something out of the bag at the last round.”

Fellow Australian Jed Beaton also remains in title contention in the MX2 category heading into the final round. The Tasmanian rider sits 13 points behind New Zealander and MX Nationals regular Hamish Harwood with one round remaining.

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