JULY 4, 2018: A hat-trick of wins from Kawasaki hero Rhys Carter placed him top of the glamour MX1 class standings at the weekend’s annual Battle of the Clubs motocross in Taupo

Taking a mid-season break from his Australian Motocross Championships campaign, the 28-year-old from Mount Maunganui pulled on the colours of the North King Country Motorcycle Club to engage in a little mate-versus-mate feuding at the ninth annual Battle of the Clubs (BOTC) event at Taupo’s sandy Digger McEwen Motocross Park on Saturday.

The BOTC event is primarily a fundraiser to help send a New Zealand team to the annual Motocross of Nations (MXoN) event – the Olympic Games of motocross – this year to be held in the United States in October.

Carter (Kawasaki KX450F) is on the short-list to be in that MXoN team. He previously raced for Team New Zealand at the MXoN when it was staged in Germany in 2013.

His hat-trick of race wins at the BOTC on Saturday, coupled with his strong performances in Australia this season, make him a prime candidate for MXoN team selection.

Six-rider teams representing 27 clubs from the length and breadth of New Zealand travelled to Taupo for Saturday’s BOTC event, with rider entry fees going towards the fundraising effort to send a Kiwi squad to contest the MXoN in Buchanan, Michigan, on October 6-7.

Carter won his MX1 class qualifying race on Saturday and then also won both his combined MX1/veterans and MX1/MX2 class points races that followed, his MX1/MX2 race performance particularly impressive.

He suffered a poor start and then his problems compounded when he collided with another rider and crashed just three laps into the MX1/MX2 race. Back in seventh position, Carter set about chasing down the leaders, fellow former Kiwi international Ben Townley a long way out in front.

As the laps ticked by, Carter picked off rider after rider until eventually passing Townley for the lead and going on to win the race by an impressive 9.26 seconds from Tauranga Motorcycle Club MX1 representative Townley and Rotorua Motorcycle Club MX1 representative John Phillips.

Unfortunately, despite Carter’s best efforts, his club was only able to finish the event ranked 16th overall.

The event was won by the Cambridge Motorcycle Club, with the Mosgiel District Motorcycle Club finishing runners-up and the Tauranga Motorcycle Club team claiming the third podium spot.

Carter said he was thrilled to be named in the short-list for possible selection for October’s international MXoN event in the US.

“I have the international experience and I’m riding well at the moment, so I have a good chance of being selected. I’m in the best shape and form I’ve ever been in,” he said.

“I probably didn’t set the bar high enough for what I’ve actually managed to achieve in Australia this year. I just eased my way into the racing there and then found my feet a little bit. I was just collecting points at the start and now I’m starting to build on that.”

Riding for the Complete Parts Kawasaki Race Team, Carter is currently eighth overall in the MX1 class in the Australian nationals after five of 10 rounds. The next round is set for Conondale, in Queensland, on July 1.

“Now that I’ve figured out what I can do over there, the five-week mid-season break has come at a good time for me. I’ll come out swinging in the last five rounds. I’ve been working on things that will help me increase my intensity and technique and I feel I can only get better from here.”

Words and photo by Andy McGechan,