OCTOBER 5, 2020: It is enough to make his rivals green with envy – the sheer dominance enjoyed by Kawasaki ace Josiah Natzke at the weekend.
With an amazing 10 wins from 10 starts, the Bridgestone Kawasaki Racing Team rider from Hamilton was simply unstoppable at the 2020 New Zealand Motocross TT Championships at Taupiri, near Huntly, on Saturday and Sunday.
The 21-year-old multi-time former national motocross champion dominated racing on both days, gaining maximum points by winning every race in both the MX1 and MX2 (250cc) classes by a comfortable margin.
“There’s not much happening overseas at the moment, so my focus is totally on the New Zealand scene at the moment,” said Natzke, sounding a warning for his rivals with the 2021 New Zealand Motocross Championships season just around the corner.
“This weekend was my first time this season on the 250cc bike and I am only racing the Kawasaki KX450F at the moment for a little extra bike time, but will be focussing solely on the MX2 class with the Kawasaki KX250F in the next couple of weeks.
“Kawasaki New Zealand has been supporting me really well and I will be looking to racing overseas again later in 2021, if the opportunity arises. Europe would not be my first option. I didn’t enjoy it so much over there the last time I was in Europe, but I would target a ride in the United States or maybe just in Australia. I would love to go racing for the Kawasaki Pro Circuit race team in America and I’m on the right colour bike for that,” he laughed.
“I’m doing everything I can to remain fit and fast. I expect to win races and, if I want to achieve overseas, then I have to prove it here first.”
He certainly proved he was international calibre with his blistering form at Taupiri.
Natzke was superbly backed up in the MX1 class at the weekend by team-mate Ethan Martens, the man from Waitakere eventually settling for third overall in the class, behind Natzke and Hamilton’s national MX1 No.4 Kayne Lamont.
“Kawasaki have been right behind me … Shane Verhoeven and Mike Cotter have been great,” said Natzke. “They go above and beyond for me. They know what my goals and plans are and they’re right on board with me on that.”
Other class winners at the weekend were Stratford’s Camo Keegan (ATV quad bike class); New Plymouth’s Mitch Rowe (in the veterans over-45 years, classic pre-1996 bikes and MX3 classes), Red Beach’s Joseph Andrell (senior 125cc class); Te Kauwhata’s Matthew Vining (veterans aged 40-44 years); Hamilton’s Amie Roberts (senior women); Raetihi’s Karaitiana Horne (junior women); Horotiu’s Carter Hanes (junior 250cc); Pukekawa’s Tyler Brown (junior 12-16 years’ 125cc); Cambridge’s Jared Hannon (junior 12-16 years’ 85cc); Taupo’s Declan Connors (junior 8-11 years’ 85cc); Hamilton’s Mikayla Rowe (class pre-2001 bikes); Scott Taylor (enduro bikes); Waitara’s Ollie Payne (mini 65cc); Helensville’s Adam Bockett (mini 50cc).
Meanwhile, Cambridge’s Mike Cotter, the general manager at Kawasaki New Zealand, showed he’d forgotten nothing from his heyday 20 years ago as he kept Natzke and current national MX2 No.3 James Scott, from Oparau, honest in the MX2 (250cc) battles.
Cotter, a 46-year-old father-of-two, races only rarely these days but muscle memory must surely have come into play as the three-time former New Zealand champion (in 1999 and 2000) finished a creditable third overall in the MX2 class.
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com