Motorcycles

It has been a glorious season of motocross racing for Pirelli rider Hamish Harwood

It has been a glorious season of motocross racing for Pirelli rider Hamish Harwood

Supported by Davey Motorsports KTM Team in Australia, the three-time and current New Zealand MX2 (250cc) champion took his CML KTM Racing Team two-stroke bike to qualify fourth fastest at the tenth and final round of the Australian Motocross Championships at Coolum, in Queensland, on Sunday, setting himself up for a solid afternoon on the treacherous sand track.

The 23-year-old South Islander, now living in Royal Heights in Auckland, raced his 2018-model KTM 250SX to twice finish third in the MX2 (250cc) class on Sunday, which also featured him leading race one, as well as posting the fastest lap time, and this was good enough for the intrepid Kiwi to earn a podium spot, third overall for the day.

But, even more significantly, this also enabled him to clinch second overall for the championship, Harwood ending the series overall runner-up to Australian international rider Wilson Todd.

Harwood had been locked in a battle with Australian rider Aaron Tanti for the series runner-up position, but Harwood was too slick for Tanti in both races on Sunday, Tanti finishing the day only eighth overall.

“I knew I had to keep an eye on where Tanti was on the track, but we top three riders actually lapped Tanti in race one,” said Harwood.

“I knew what I had to do and, when I lapped Tanti, I knew I was halfway there.

“I was riding well and, even though I led the first race, I didn’t want to push too hard either and risk throwing it all away. It is hard work to race flat out in sand for 30 minutes, but my fitness is very good and I’d put in the hard work in training, so it paid off.”

Harwood had won the MX Development class (under-19 years) title in Australia in 2013 and also previously finished runner-up in the MX2 class, in the 2014 season. His intention now is to put together a plan to return and have another crack at winning the Australian MX2 title next season, “defending on what financial support I can muster”.

Harwood made it three consecutive New Zealand MX2 Championship title wins in a row in March and, just last month, he was named as reserve rider for Team New Zealand when they head off to compete at the annual Motocross of Nations (MXoN) in the United States on October 6-7.

Meanwhile, fellow Kiwi riders Rhys Carter ((Complete Parts Kawasaki Racing Team) and Maximus Purvis (Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team) also stood out at Coolum at the weekend.

Mount Maunganui’s Carter finished the day fifth overall in MX1 class (after finishing fourth and eighth in his two races on Sunday) and he wound up seventh overall in the series standings, while Mangakino’s Purvis dominated the day at Coolum – winning both races – in the MX Development (under-19 years) class and he finished the series third overall for that class.

© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ


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