The bikes may have been mini-sized, but the talent on show at the 2020 New Zealand Mini Motocross Nationals at Marakau, north of Auckland, at the weekend was massive.
Run by the North Harbour Mini Motocross Club and sponsored by Un4Seen Decals, the 2020 mini nationals attracted a Who’s Who of rising stars on the New Zealand motocross scene.
Riders aged between four and 11 – and riding bikes with engine capacities anywhere between 50cc and 140cc – lined up to do battle and the intensity was second to none as the future of the sport went on show over two days of furious, edge-of-the-seat racing.
With an impressively-large entry list and intense racing at the weekend, it showed the sport in a positive light and showed it was extremely healthy at this grassroots level.
Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner Ray Broad attended on Sunday, alongside mini/junior motocross co-ordinator Michelle Davies and MNZ board member Mike ‘Big Mac’ McLeod to witness the spectacle and they were so impressed with what they saw that an extra award was especially created to reward one of the young riders.
Whangarei’s Hannah Perris bravely took on the boys and beat them all in one of the elite 9-11 years’ 65cc class races, inspiring organisers to offer her an award as the “rider of the weekend”. She also finished runner-up in another of the races in that class.
It was perhaps particularly significant that she won this trophy, being on the same weekend as Otago’s Courtney Duncan wrapped up her 2020 Women’s Motocross World Championship campaign with a repeat title win in Italy on Sunday.
Whangarei’s Liam Perris won three out of his four races to claim victory in the 9-11 years’ 65cc class at Marakau, finishing the weekend ahead of Palmerston North’s Murphy Barr and Nelson’s Kase Shuttleworth. Bad luck in two of her four races meant that Hannah Perris had to settle for sixth overall.
Meanwhile, the rider who scored the most silverware at the mini nationals was Christchurch’s Levi McMaster, winner of the 7-8 years’ 65cc class title and the 6-8 years’ 50cc title as well. McMaster scored seven wins from eight starts (in these two classes) at the weekend. His brother, Nico, won the 4-7 years’ class.
“When you get nearly 200 riders showing up to race, it makes for a simply stunning weekend,” said Broad.
“It was overwhelming to see more than half those riders and their families taking the opportunity to camp at the venue too.
“Unfortunately rain forced the programme to be reduced on Saturday, but they caught up again with racing on Sunday,” he said.
“It was a great debut at the weekend too for the new shaft-drive bike racers, on the track on their JR50, QR50 and PW50 bikes. It was nearly a full starting grid for that and this is extremely positive for the sport.”
Final leading overall standings in the 2020 NZ Mini Motocross Nationals at the weekend:
9-11 years’ 65cc class: 1. Liam Perris (Whangarei); 2. Murphy Barr (Palmerston North); 3. Kase Shuttleworth (Nelson).
7-8 years’ 65cc class: 1. Levi McMaster (Christchurch); 2. Harry Daly (Hastings); 3. Kobie Madsen (Blenheim).
6-8 years’ 50cc class: 1. Levi McMaster (Christchurch); 2. Jesse Baird (Christchurch); 3. Cooper Klemra (New Plymouth).
8-11 years’ trail bike class: 1. Jack Hazelden (Cambridge); 2. Thomas Baker (Hawera); 3. Jayden Berridge (Whangarei).
7-9 years’ trail bike class: 1. Abigail Lonergan (Makarau); 2. Frankie Neverman (Riverhead); 3. Lachlan Anderson (Mihi).
4-7 years’ 50cc intro class: 1. Van Hazelden (Cambridge); Adam Bockett (Auckland); 3. Levi Pickerill (Hamilton).
4-5 years’ (shaft drive) trail bike class: 1. Cooper Robinson (Whangarei); 2. Jett Tracey (Mangonui); 3. Saskia Hibbard-Kelly (Taipa).
4-7 years’ intro motocross class: 1. Nico McMaster (Christchurch); 2. Charlie Woods (Loburn); 3. Vinnie Edwards (Carterton).