APRIL 19, 2022:
With three wins from three starts, Cambridge’s Jared Hannon proved himself unbeatable in the chase for junior honours in this year’s New Zealand’s Cross-country Championships.
With points from only three of the series’ four rounds to be counted towards the national title, Kawasaki ace Hannon now has nothing to fear at the fourth and final round in Central Hawke’s Bay next month.
The national title already belongs to Hannon after he completed an impressive 1-1-1 score-card with wins at rounds two and three in the Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay over the long Easter Weekend.
The 16-year-old set himself up nicely for the junior title win when he won the opening round of the series near Marton in late February, crossing the finish line just ahead of fellow Kawasaki star Tyler Brown, from Pukekawa.
As Brown turned 17 soon after, and was therefore no longer eligible to continue in the junior competition, he was unable to challenge Hannon at the rounds that followed seven weeks later – although there were still plenty of other extremely fast junior riders to keep Hannon honest.
But Hannon had the measure of them too, winning the 90-minute junior race at round two near Pahiatua/Masterton on Saturday and repeating the dose at round three near Dannevirke on Easter Monday.
Runner-up to Hannon on Saturday was Te Awamutu’s Nixon Parkes (KTM), with New Plymouth’s Josh Houghton (Husqvarna) claiming third place, while runner-up to Hannon on Monday was Parkes again, with New Plymouth’s Blake Lusk (Yamaha) finishing third on that occasion.
“I just loved the track here (at Dannevirke). It was right up my alley,” said Hannon afterwards.
“There were heaps of different lines to choose from, but the track was so slick in places. I was pretty consistent, choosing lines off the main race lines was the secret.”
This is Hannon’s first title win in the national cross-country championships, although he has previously won national mini motocross, Woodville Motocross Grand Prix titles and three New Zealand Mini TT Championship titles.
“Next year I will be a senior racer. I will certainly give it a good crack to try and win again.
“I want to thank Kawasaki New Zealand for helping to make this happen and I couldn’t have done it without my parents either.”
Meanwhile, Oparau’s James Scott (Honda) led virtually from start to finish to win the three-hour senior races on both days over Easter, on each occasion taking the chequered flag ahead of Napier’s Tommy Watts (Yamaha), with Taupo’s Wil Yeoman (Yamaha) finishing third both times.
Similarly to Hannon, Scott also wrapped up his senior title with a round to spare.
The fourth and final round is to be held in Central Hawke’s Bay on May 15.
Although the main titles are now decided, there are positions still to be finalised in the various engine capacity classes, so there is plenty to race for at the final round.
2022 NZ Cross-Country Champs
Round One – Sunday, February 27 – Bush Riders MCC, Marton
Round Two – Saturday, April 16 – Bush Riders MCC, Masterton/Pahiatua
Round Three – Monday, April 18 – Central Hawke’s Bay MCC, Dannevirke
Round Four – Sunday, May 15 – Central Hawke’s Bay MCC.
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com