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THREE WINS FROM THREE STARTS FOR KAWASAKI ACE

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

KAWASAKI DUO IN TIGHT BATTLE FOR JUNIOR GRADE GLORY

FEBRUARY 28, 2022:

The nation’s cross-country racing elite would probably have been green with envy when the chequered flag fell in the junior race at Marton at the weekend.

Kawasaki team-mates Jared Hannon and Tyler Brown were almost unstoppable in the junior grade at this first of four rounds in the 2022 New Zealand Cross-country Championships, held on steep Rangitikei farmland on Sunday.

The two motocross riders took their distinctive green MR Motorcycles Kawasaki bikes to finish 1-2 in the 90-minute gut-buster, separated by just 78 seconds at the end, with New Plymouth’s Josh Houghton (Husqvarna) finishing only 39 seconds further back to claim the third step on the podium.

“I don’t know what the winning secret was for me today,” said Cambridge teenager Hannon. “I just think it was a matter of twisting the throttle hard and that generally keeps you going straight. Of course, if it doesn’t, then you’re in a lot of trouble,” the 16-year-old laughed.

“I was just praying I had enough fuel to finish the last lap. It was my first cross-country race on a four-stroke bike and it was awesome. And an electric start makes all the difference too.

“I didn’t expect to win. I didn’t even know I was going to be doing this race until last week. Dad told me the race was on and I decided to give it a crack.”

And while 2021 national junior 250cc motocross champion Brown would have loved to win the race against his friend on Sunday, he said that accepting runner-up spot to team-mate Hannon was still immensely satisfying.

“This is the only event anyway that I am still eligible to race as a junior, so I could not really hope anyway to win that title this year. I turn 17 shortly and will switch across to the senior ranks.

“Today was really just practice for me,” said Brown, a pupil at Onewhero Area School.

Points from only the best three results from the four rounds will be counted towards the championship titles, with riders to discard their worst result, so Brown will still possibly be a contender in the chase for senior grade glory.

“I have not raced a cross-country event in a while, so I was pretty stoked to finish second today,” said Brown. “I knew Jared (Hannon) would be fast.”

Meanwhile, Oparau’s James Scott led virtually from start to finish to win the three-hour senior race later in the afternoon, taking the chequered flag just over a minute ahead of Wairoa’s Tommy Watt and two minutes ahead of third-placed rider Wil Yeoman, of Taupo.

The next two rounds follow closely together, with round two set for farmland near Pahiatua on Saturday, April 16, and round three near Dannevirke just two days later, on Easter Monday, April 18. The venue for the fourth and final round on May 14 is yet to be confirmed.

 

2022 NZ Cross-Country Champs

Round One – Sunday, February 27 – Bush Riders MCC, Marton

Round Two – Saturday, April 16 – Bush Riders MCC, Pahiatua

Round Three – Monday, April 18 – Central Hawke’s Bay MCC, Dannevirke

Round Four – Saturday, May 14 – Host club and venue to be decided.

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