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