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Winning National Titles The Focus For Yamaha Men

The Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team is not holding back in its bid to dominate the motocross scene in New Zealand this summer, with each of its riders progressing their respective title bids at the weekend.

Hamilton-based former Mangakino rider Kayne Lamont was unbeatable at the first round of four in this year's New Zealand Motocross Championships near New Plymouth three weeks ago and he rode maturely on a difficult day at round two near Rotorua on Sunday to maintain his grip on the MX1 title chase.

Lamont took his Altherm JCR Yamaha YZ450F to finish with a respectable 3-2-2 score-card over his three MX1 class races at Rotorua on Sunday and, although he wasn't as dominant as he had been at the series opener and his advantage has been shaved from 15 to nine points, there's certainly no reason for him to be pushing any panic buttons. "There were some mistakes made today, but he kept it on two wheels and kept his championship lead," team manager Josh Coppins observed. "He just didn't have the speed today that he had at round one, but Kayne managed the damage and it has really been minimal.

" Former Australian motocross champion Kirk Gibbs, from the Gold Coast, won the MX1 class at Rotorua on Sunday with his 1-3-1 score-card, while defending national champion Cody Cooper, from Mount Maunganui, slipped from second equal (level with Gibbs) to third overall after he posted 2-1-4 results. What was most important, certainly as far as Lamont was concerned, was that he held onto the championship lead and he managed to do that despite suffering stomach cramps at Rotorua. "It was pretty hectic today," said the 24-year-old Lamont. "I qualified second fastest and had some tough races and still only lost six points to Kirk (Gibbs) and just one point to Cody (Cooper) ... and I understand this is Cooper's favourite race track. "I think this is going to be a three or four-way battle right to the final race of the series," said Lamont.

"Rhys Carter (from Mount Maunganui) rode well today too, so we've also got to consider him a threat. "I had stomach cramps from something I ate and that caused me problems in the last race of the day. But, once I was past the stage of feeling like I wanted to vomit, I managed to pull away from Rhys and catch up to Kirk. I wasn't quite close enough to make the pass on him at the end." Coppins said he was pleased also with his MX2 (2509cc) class rider, Australian visitor and former New Zealand champion Jay Wilson, and his 125cc class rider, Mangakino's national junior motocross champion Maximus Purvis. Wilson finished the day second equal overall, behind West Auckland's defending champion Hamish Harwood, in the MX2 class, while Purvis scored a hat-trick of wins to extend his lead in the 125cc class. "Max had a great day today," enthused Coppins. "With three wins in the bag today he has a nice championship lead. Jay just needs more bike time. His first race for us was at the Woodville motocross (in late January) and he was cold coming into the Kiwi scene. The standard of racing here in New Zealand has stepped up in recent years and he can see that." The national series will continue with racing in Hawke’s Bay on Sunday, March 11, and then it all wraps up in Taupo on Saturday, March 24.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan