2021 TT Nationals a Wrap

The Kawasaki sponsored annual event, on grassy farmland 20 minutes North of Hamilton featured great racing over the 2-day event.

With no man-made obstacles and no high-flying jumps, road-racers and offroad racers went head to head on a neutral playing field demonstrating their skills on the road-racing style layout on dirt. Take a look at some of the action held at the Fuller Farm.

Grass paddock racing layout.

Billee Fuller (KX85) was on form in the Senior Women’s division, taking out 2nd overall on her 85cc!

KawiGirls offroad ambassador Mikayla Rowe (KX250X) dominated the Senior Womens class with 5 wins from 5.

Seton Head (KX450) came from behind to win MX1 moto 1. Unfortunately he hit a marker and sustained a tendon injury in his hand.

Angus Evans (KX250) rounded out the podium in the MX2 class.

Loamy berms made for some spectacular action.

Mitch Rowe (KX500) and daughter Mikayla Rowe (KX250) in the classic class.

Kawasaki Motorcycle Distributors parent company acquires new powersports brands

Verhoeven Group Limited (VGL) is proud to announce the acquisition of the New Zealand distribution rights to three renowned brands in the motorcycle industry.

The VGL team pride themselves on being distributors of premium-end lifestyle and leisure brands for the New Zealand market, including Life Fitness, Hammer Strength, Nautique Boats, Kawasaki, The Fitness Depot and Asset Resources.

The latest additions of Pro Circuit, Works Connection and Hinson brands to the group are a natural fit for VGL. These brands strive to provide the very best in aftermarket racing products for competition off-road motorcycles, with a racing track record to prove their success at the highest level of motorsport.

Pro Circuit, established by Mitch Payton in 1978, has become synonymous with horsepower. The brand has been celebrated for specialist performance exhausts whilst offering a catalogue of engine, linkage, triple clamps and suspension upgrades.

Works Connection was established by Eric Phipps in 1989, and continues to produce quality products to meet the demands of discerning motocross racers. Specialising in protective and lightweight protective hard parts, Works Connection have been entrusted by factory race teams to ensure longevity and reliability.

Hinson was founded in 1992 by Wayne Hinson and was borne out of a passion for off-road racing. Hinson have developed the world’s strongest clutch components ever since and are proud to have amassed over 400 National and World Championships in 29 years of business.

“Verhoeven Group are passionate about motorcycling, and bringing the best products to New Zealand off-road racers. Racing is something that we enjoy being a part of, but the opportunity to take it to the next level and offer riders the very best in performance hard parts was an easy decision”, commented Shane Verhoeven, Managing Director of Verhoeven Group Limited.

Life Fitness NZ supply the world’s leading Commercial Fitness equipment to gyms throughout New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Nautique NZ are leading the wakeboarding and water ski towboat market in the New Zealand. Kawasaki NZ are the distributors for motorcycles, side by sides and Jet Skis and are supported by a dealer network throughout New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

The VGL team are based in Hamilton, Waikato. The acquisition is official from Friday 12 February 2021. An online store is being developed and will be available in the coming months. See www.verhoevengroup.co.nz for updates.

Contact details:

Powerparts Depot
Damien King
027 710 0074
damien@powerpartsdepot.co.nz

GREEN MEANS GO AND THAT’S JUST WHAT YOUNG TYLER DID

FEBRUARY 9, 2021: Kawasaki has a new star rising on the horizon and that individual in Pukekawa’s Tyler Brown.

In fact, he’s no longer just on the horizon – now he’s up close and right in the face of his rivals.

The 15-year-old stormed to the top of the junior motocross pecking order when he won the 14-16 years’ 250cc class at the 60th anniversary New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville last month and that was surely a massive hint as to what might be coming up just a week later and the 2021 New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships in the Bay of Plenty.

It’s fair to say that Brown, a year 11 student at Onewhero Area School, had done his homework and it was now he who was doing the teaching, taking his bright green MR Motorcycles Kawasaki KX250 four-stroke bike to hand out a few lessons of his own at the junior championships at Tect Park, about halfway between Tauranga and Rotorua, over the long Waitangi Day weekend.

The 15-year-old won three of his five races over the three days and was a solid seven points ahead of his nearest rival, Hamilton’s Nick Westgate, with one race to go on Sunday afternoon, but still it came down to that final race of the weekend before he could eventually clinch it.

Brown crashed soon after the start of Sunday’s final 250cc race and was passed by another of his main title rivals, Invercargill’s Jack Symon, the South Islander moving his new Kawasaki up from sixth at the start to claim third spot and Brown therefore had to dig deep just to hold on to his fourth position in that decisive race.

Oparau’s Hunter Scott won the race, holding off a stern challenge from Westgate, with Symon finishing third and Brown fourth, enough for Brown to clinch the title.

“This is my first New Zealand  title. I’ve waited a long time for this. I won Woodville last week and now this, so it just feels really good to get it done.

“I felt the pressure after finishing only fourth in my first race of the weekend. So I put my head down and won the next three. Then I had an ‘off’ in the last race. A bit of nerves got to me I guess. There was a soft spot on the track that I couldn’t see through my dirty goggles, I tucked the front end of the bike in and down I went.

“I definitely should win a world record trophy for picking up my bike the quickest,” he laughed.

“I don’t really have any words to describe how I feel right now.

“Dad helps me out a lot and I couldn’t do any of this without him … or mum too. I had so much support, for which I’m grateful. A huge thanks to Kawasaki New Zealand and all my other sponsors too.”

Brown comes from a family of motorcycling high-achievers, his father Craig Brown not only his mentor and mechanic at the weekend, but also a top-five finisher in his senior championship days and more recently a national champion in the veterans’ grades as well. Tyler Brown’s grand-father, Mike Wilkins, was a national hare-scramble (cross-country) champion in his day too.

Other class winners at the weekend were Tauranga’s Madoc Dixon (15-16 years’ 125cc class); Tauranga’s Aidan Roberts (12-14 years’ 125cc class);  Whanganui’s Troy Bullock (14-16 years’ 85cc/150cc class); Waitoki’s Cole Davies (12-13 years’ 85cc/150cc class); Taupo’s Declan Connors (8-11 years’ 85cc/150cc class); Tauranga’s Levi Townley (8-11 years’ Pro 65cc class); Palmerston North’s Hannah Powell (12-16 years’ 125cc/250cc women’s class); Raetihi’s Karaitiana Horne (12-16 years’ 85cc/125cc women’s class); Taupo’s Mikayla Griffiths (8-11 years’ 85cc/150cc women’s class).

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

PUKEKAWA RIDER SENDS STRONG WARNING TO RIVALS

FEBRUARY 2, 2021: Total dominance doesn’t come much better than this and Pukekawa teenager Tyler Brown will be in a confident mood as he heads now to the national championships.

The popular annual New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville has always been a magnet for the cream of New Zealand motocross talent, the two-day affair featuring former and current national champions across all the various categories.

And, it’s probably fair to say, a few future champions also revealed themselves at Woodville, the 15-year-old Brown among them.

Brown took his Kawasaki KX250F to record an impressive clean sweep of wins in his 14-16 years’ 250cc class during the junior phase of racing at this 60th anniversary Woodville event on Saturday.

The MR Motorcycles-sponsored star made it look easy, leading from start to finish in the first two of his three outings, although he was forced to work harder in his last race of the day, eventually battling through traffic to take another victory and set himself atop of the class podium.

Brown (Kawasaki) won race one by seven seconds from New Plymouth’s Logan Kerrisk (Yamaha), then he was even more impressive in race two, winning by 13.6 seconds from Te Puke’s Kyan Loomans (Yamaha).

In race three, he was beaten out of the start gate, but eventually caught and passed the race leader, Hamilton’s Nick Westgate (KTM), on the fourth lap of six and won that race also, zipping past the chequered flag three seconds ahead of Westgate.

“I have lots of confidence now going into the junior nationals next weekend,” said Brown, a year 11 student at Onewhero Area School.

“I expect to be challenged there by Kyan Loomans and Hunter Scott (from Oparau), but there are a few guys sidelined I think, so that should help me out a bit too,” he smiled.

“I’m just focussing on my own racing and hoping now to get the overall win at the nationals.

“I was on the 125cc bike last year and I did well, finishing third overall. I have never won a national title before and this will be my last chance to do that in the juniors, before I step up to the senior ranks.”

Brown’s scintillating performance will no doubt have his rivals scrambling to find answers ahead of the New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships being raced near Tauranga this coming weekend.

With his father Craig – formerly a top rider on the senior scene and still a frontrunner in the veterans’ ranks – to mentor him, it’s probably just a matter of time before young Tyler Brown is a New Zealand champion.

Brown is supported by MR Motorcycles in Pukekohe, Kawasaki NZ, Team Green, Bridgestone tyres, Shoei helmets, Fly Racing apparel, Ryan Young Contracting, Oakley goggles, Renthal handlebars, Polisport plastics, RK chains, Twin Air, Classical Doors Ltd and Bel Ray oils.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

TERRACAT & KAWASAKI GIVEAWAY PROMOTION

Bridgestone Kawasaki star Josiah Natzke wins the inaugural Michelin SX4

January 18, 2021: “Michelin SX4 – I’m coming for ya” was the call Josiah Natzke made on the day of the inaugural event on Saturday 9 January 2021.

Wanting redemption after being pipped at the post at the trial event in November, Bridgestone Kawasaki star Natzke was all class as he not only took the inaugural Michelin SX4 title but also managed to grab the Motul Lube Ladder and win three out of four of his heat races.

Natzke was in stellar form leading into the event and labelled his Michelin SX4 win as his favourite to date.

The best in the business were on show for all to see at Taupo Motocross Club in front of a packed crowd on Saturday. The event kicked off with introductory laps from all the riders alongside Michelin Juniors who we’re invited to ride and experience the pit lane alongside the professionals. The Motul Lube Ladder was competitive with only half a second splitting the top four riders Wyatt Chase, Cody Cooper, Campbell King and Kayne Lamont. That was until last competitor Natzke started his engine and came home with a lap time of 25.435 seconds, over one second faster than his nearest rival.

The NZ Natural Clothing Nitro Lane was a crowd favourite and keep the heat races tight with the top 6 riders finishing within three points of each other. Qualifying for the Semi Finals were first time competitors Tommy Watts and Tyler Steiner, MX2 rider James Scott, nine-time MX1 NZ Champion Cody Cooper, Altherm JCR Yamaha rider Kayne Lamont, Campbell King, late comer Wyatt Chase and table topping Natzke.

Post the two very tight Semi Finals the Final saw Natzke line up against Altherm JCR Yamaha standout Kayne Lamont and both the Honda Racing Teams Cody Cooper and James Scott. With Lamont taking an early lead a costly mistake saw Natzke capitalise on an inner line and there was no way of stopping the Hamilton man. The chocolates were his!

Michelin SX4 proved to be a crowd favourite with spectators travelling from around the country to experience the most recent innovation on the motocross calendar. The Rock’s Mike Garvey was on hand to keep fans engaged while they were given the chance to experience a hot lap in a Yamaha YXZ with Red Bull athlete Mad Mike Whiddett. With families being a key component of the event, junior riders were given the chance to ride with the professionals on track thanks to Michelin. Dad’s grabbed their kids and competed in the NZ Natural Clothing Piggy Back race. We found a new Michelin SX4 icon in #ChainsawMan and ticket holders were given an exclusive opportunity to ride the Michelin SX4 track on the Sunday morning post event. The food trucks, bar and Isuzu Taupo Bumper Party saw huge numbers through and nobody wanted the night to end.

Ben Townley summation of the event “Until next time” clearly shows the directors intentions to keep the new innovative format of the sport going. “There is plenty to do in the wash up but we’ve got some big plans for Michelin SX4. We’re looking forward to working with all riders, sponsors and fans to see what needs tweaking, but you will most certainly see us going again in 2022 – stay tuned!”

To stay up to date head to www.sx4.co.nz or follow through Instagram @sx4nz.

 

KAWASAKI’S NATZKE UNBEATEN AT ANNUAL SUMMERCROSS

DECEMBER 28, 2020: A bolt of lightning might have been the only way to stop Waikato rider Josiah Natzke in his tracks at the weekend.

It’s almost certain that only a freak of nature could have slowed down the national MX2 (250cc class) No.2 from Hamilton as he registered five wins from five starts at the big annual Whakatane Summercross event near Matata on Sunday.

With Natzke finishing unbeaten at this traditional post-Christmas spectacular, it has surely rung a few warning bells for his MX2 class rivals ahead of the 2021 national championships due to start early in the New Year.

The Bridgestone Kawasaki Racing Team star was a stand-out performer at Summercross this time around, although also impressive was his MX1 class team-mate Ethan Martens, who holeshot three of the big bike races, giving the green team an incredible total of eight holeshots from 10 races in the two premier classes.

However, Auckland’s Martens had to settle for fourth overall in the MX1 class, as Hamilton’s Kayne Lamont and Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper shared all five MX1 race wins between them – Lamont winning the class narrowly from Cooper, with Mount Maunganui’s Rhys Carter, Martens and Wairoa’s Tommy Watts rounding out the top five.

But it was Natzke who stole the show for the weekend with his clean sweep of wins.

Natzke qualified his Kawasaki KX250F fastest early on Sunday, then raced to first of his five MX2 race wins, crossing the line half a second ahead of Mangakino’s 2020 national MX2 champion Maximus Purvis.

But, close though as that was, Natzke was just warming up. He won the next race by more than three seconds from Purvis and set the tone for a dominance not often seen in this most frantic of bike classes.

For race three, Natzke crossed the finish line more than 14 seconds ahead of Tauranga’s former MX2 world champion Ben Townley.

Race four saw Natzke take the chequered flag by an impressive 15 seconds from Oparau’s James Scott and the fifth and final race was another Natzke master class as he cleared out to win by nearly 25 seconds from runner-up Townley.

Natzke, who will turn 22 on January 1, was determined to put the event to good use in terms of his preparation for the nationals, although the unique Summercross format did mix things up somewhat.

“The first MX2 race was quite close, but that was a sprint race, only five laps (and took barely eight minutes), so not much chance really for me to break away,” said Natzke.

“The second outing was a sprint race too and Max (Purvis) was my nearest challenger again, but I just focussed on what I had to do and got the job done.

“The next two races were short too, but the last race of the day was much longer (11 laps).”

Clearly leading the points standings after four of the five races, the pressure was off for Natzke, so he chose to set a target for himself.

“Just for fun, I wanted to see how big a gap I could get over the others. That was my goal for race five. I even made a mistake and fell off in that last race, but managed to get up and get going again quickly, so kept my big lead intact.

“This was my first time on the new 2021-model Kawasaki and I’m really pleased with the bike. I’m feeling confident ahead of the New Zealand Grand Prix at Woodville (on January 30-31) and the motocross nationals.”

Meanwhile, fellow Kawasaki rider Taylar Rampton, from Opunake, dominated the senior women’s grade at Summercross, finishing the day unbeaten to win ahead of women’s national champion Amie Roberts, of Hamilton, and Rotorua’s Letitia Alabaster.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

 

Kawasaki welcomes newest Jet Ski dealer

Kawasaki New Zealand welcomes Auckland Marine Centre to the Kawasaki Jet Ski watercraft dealer network. AMC is Kawasaki’s sole Auckland Jet Ski dealer.

Auckland Marine is one of Auckland’s longest standing marine businesses, incorporated in 1989 it has developed into a top-notch dealership offering a wide range of marine products and accessories.

Visit https://www.aucklandmarine.co.nz/kawasaki-jet-skis/ for more information.

Kings & Queens Wrap-Up