Vets fly high at Nationals

Cambridge’s Mike Cotter (Kawasaki), one of the leading riders at the weekend’s New
Zealand Veterans’ and Women’s Motocross Championships near Gore. Photo: Andy
McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

By Andy McGechan 

It was champions galore at the 2020 edition of the annual New Zealand Veterans’ and Women’s Motocross Championships near Gore at the weekend.

Former national motocross champions, current champions and rising stars all locked handlebars at the two-day event on farmland property at Riversdale, midway between Lumsden and Gore, on Saturday and Sunday and put on a stunning show for the large crowd in attendance.

The popular annual event featured many riders who, despite their veteran status, still rate among the sport’s elite, while the female side of the sport that shared the race programme was just as intense.

There were several stand-out individuals at the weekend, riders who each finished their respective campaigns unbeaten on the race track, and these riders were Rangitata’s Eldon McGaw (vets 30-34 years’ class); Masterton’s Johnny Burkhart (vets 35-39 years’ class); Motueka’s Josh Coppins (vets 40-44 years’ class); Cambridge’s Mike Cotter (vets 45-49 years’ class); New Plymouth’s Mitch Rowe (vets 55-59 years’ class); Pukekohe’s Tony Cooksley (vets over-60 years’ class) and Hastings’ rider Halle Cox (junior women 12-16 years’ class).

Waipu’s Neil Boniface won the ‘handicapped’ (points earned in race plus the rider’s age) Champion of Champions feature race that wound up the weekend.

Motorcycling New Zealand president Noel May was a spectator at the event and said the weekend was “perfect in so many ways”.

“I was really impressed by the number of people who travelled so far to be here and they were all just glowing about how well the event was run.”

Host Gore And District Motorcycle Club president Brendon Stevens said the venue on Peter and Sue Dale’s property was “dry and dusty on day one, but welcome rain overnight made it perfect for Sunday”.

“It was great racing until the final race to decide podium positions in many classes. Some of the South Islanders were familiar with the track, but for most riders it was fresh and everyone enjoyed it.”

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