Hamilton-based former Mangakino rider Kayne Lamont, in only his second full season of racing in the premier MX1 class, had led the series from the opening round in Taranaki last month – the 24-year-old scoring a hat-trick of wins that day – and he continued to top the MX1 standings, despite finishing the day third overall, at round two near Rotorua three weeks later. He won the first MX1 race of the day at round three near Hastings just over a week ago, but, when rain arrived and turned the track into a muddy lottery, he dropped a lot of points, losing the series lead to Australian professional Kirk Gibbs.
He arrived at Taupo's final round with one thought in mind, to win the day, take back the lead and snatch the title, but a massive crash while leading the day's final race ruptured those dreams and he instead had to settle for third overall this season, behind Gibbs and Mount Maunganui's 2017 national MX1 champion Cody Cooper. "For Kayne (Lamont) to slip to third was disappointing but, at the same time, he gave us his all. He tried to go for the championship," said Coppins.
The team's MX2 (250cc) rider, visiting Australian Jay Wilson, had arrived in New Zealand "cold" but was starting to get hot by round four and finished the day at Taupo with a 3-3-4 score-card, enough to elevate him to third overall for the series, behind Takaka's Hamish Harwood and Taupo's Brad Groombridge. Wilson's main purpose for competing in New Zealand was to use the time to test machinery and warm up for his Australian Motocross Championships campaign, with that series due to kick off at Newry, in Victoria, on April 15.
The third rider in the team, Mangakino teenager Maximus Purvis, took his Yamaha YZ125 to dominate the National 125cc class, winning that title with a race to spare. In all, the 17-year-old Purvis, making his senior championship debut, won 10 of 12 races in the National 125cc class. "This is my ninth national title ... right through the mini and juniors ranks, but this is my first senior one. I'll race the MX2 class at the nationals next season," he said. Coppins was philosophical about his team's nationals campaign. "Sure, it could have been slightly better, but I'm pretty satisfied nonetheless," said Coppins. "It's good to see Maximus (Purvis) win the championship in the 125cc class," Coppins agreed. "We had a few issues with Jay (Wilson) in the mud in Hawke's Bay, but overall I'm happy with his effort and to come away with a podium result was good. "I have to be realistic. If we'd known, at the start of the season, that we would win the MX Fest at Taupo and win the Speedcross at Taupo (both events held last October), then win the Whakatane Summercross (in late December), win the MXGP at Woodville (in late January) and then lead the nationals for two of the four rounds, I think the sponsors would be pretty happy. And that's what we did. "To be in contention for all three classes was what we wanted. We would have liked to get the MX1 title, for sure, but Kayne gave us his all and that's all we can ask for." Both Lamont and Purvis now prepare to tackle the Australian motocross nationals, Lamont entered in the MX1 class and Purvis in the Under-19 class.
The Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing team is supported by Altherm Window Systems, Yamaha, JCR, CRC, Ados, GYTR, Yamalube, bLU cRU, Fox Racing, Hollands Collision Centre, Star Moving, Ward Demolition, Pirelli, Akrapovic, DID, NGK, Renthal, Motomuck, www.workshopgraphics.co.nz, Motoseat, SKF, Vertex Pistons, Rtech Plastics and Etnies. Words and photo by Andy McGechan