Local riders out to keep stars honest

THE REAL DIRT: Justin McDonald rips into a corner during a race meeting in Woodville.
THE REAL DIRT: Justin McDonald rips into a corner during a race meeting in Woodville.

Former national champions Scott Columb and Justin McDonald will headline this weekend's action at the Filco Farm and Sport Nelson motocross championships.

The two-day meeting, starting on Saturday at the MotoX Events track on the Parkes' property in Eighty-eight Valley near Wakefield, has attracted two of the big names of New Zealand motocross, with Queenstown's Columb and Cantabrian McDonald facing some tough local talent in the senior open class.

Columb won this year's national MX2 Supercross title and finished second behind internationally-ranked Darryll King in the national motocross championships. McDonald was fourth in this year's national MX1 series after having won the title back in 2009.

McDonald faced some formidable opposition in this year's national championship series, finishing behind Ben Townley, Motueka's Josh Coppins and Cody Cooper.

Columb and King have been competing in the Australian motocross championship series.

Among the leading locals set to test Columb's and McDonald's credentials are Nathan Clair, Jared Guthrie and Hayden Wilkinson. Clair is New Zealand No 5 in the 125cc class and Guthrie No 9 the 450cc class. Wilkinson has spent the past two years competing in MX1 in Britain, so will also bring some international clout with him to the weekend's event.

The fastest 15 riders from the senior open class qualifying round, starting at 9am on Saturday, will then contest a six-race series, with three races each day, to determine the champion.

Recent winner of the Tasman secondary schools' 125-250 championship title, Waimea College's Bradley Biggs, will be among the leading contenders for the junior open title, with a women's class also included among the seven classes to be contested over the two days.

Nelson College's Charlie Rowe is expected to lead the contenders in the 85cc class.

"With the ability of the open riders, it'll be very competitive," said event organiser Matt Redwood.

"You can see the whole track from where the spectators are and it'll be very good racing. These guys are quick."

Racing on both days is from 9am to 4pm, with Redwood stressing the safety measures taken to ensure safe spectator viewing.

The Nelson Mail