The city’s hopes of reclaiming the country’s champion motorcycle club title were dashed on Saturday, but it’s being called a new beginning for Tauranga Motorcycle Club.
The club’s Battle of the Streets team organiser Bridgette Tolfrey says with top riders Cody Cooper and Rhys Carter unavailable it offered a great chance to give the club’s other talented riders a go.
“While our top riders weren’t available that didn’t stop the other clubs entering their top riders, so it was always going to be a challenge, but when you consider it was the first race at this level for many they did pretty well.”
Bridgette says with Cody and Rhys being such strong riders they’re always picked as number one and two, so their unavailability gave some of the club’s other talented riders a break.
The club entered two teams for the first time this year, both finishing mid-field in the competition.
The winner is Tokoroa-based South Waikato Motorcycle Club, which became the fourth different club in five years to win the big annual battle.
Second place went to Taranaki Motorcycle Club, and third was claimed by Nelson Motorcycle Club.
Bridgette says all Tauranga riders did well and avoided injuries, and while some were disappointed in the result she believed many showed strong potential and just needed more competition to match it with the best.
“When you consider our MX1 and MX2 riders – Cameron McCaskie, Matt Kenyon, Sam Lutes and Eric Morris – are still very young and were going up against riders sometime with 20 more years’ experience, they didn’t do badly. Give them another four or five years and they should be right up there.”
Bridgette singled out vets open rider Keith Patterson and MX2 rider Matt Kenyon for special praise, saying they did exceptionally well, along with the junior riders – many of whom weren’t long out of competing in the mini class.
The Dukes team of Paul Burgess (Vets), Cameron McCaskie (MX1), Matt Kenyon (MX2), Jovhann Phillips (Junior 250), Simon Atkinson (Junior 125) and Chris Merriman (Junior 85) finished 13th in a field of 24 – with the juniors finishing seventh in their division and the seniors 18th.
The Lords team of Keith Patterson (Vets), Sam Lutes (MX1) Eric Morris (MX2), Josh Tredinnick (Junior 125) and Reece Garrett (Junior 85) finished 20th overall, with the juniors 18th and the seniors 20th.
The inter-club battle doubles as a fundraiser to help send a Kiwi squad to the ‘Olympic Games of motocross’, the annual Motocross of Nations, in Latvia in September – generating about $10,000 for the team, which will be named in a few weeks.
Meanwhile, Bridgette says work is progressing on developing the club’s own track at TECT All Terrain Park, with contractors contouring the ground with hopes it’ll be completed by the end of the year.
“It will be the first time the club has a place that they can call its own. We’ve always borrowed and used other areas and tracks, so this will be a great boost for the club.”
Next weekend the club is holding a maize paddock ride at a Welcome Bay Rd property. Details: www.taurangamcc.co.nz