Moto Media

The Daryl Hurley Story

Later it 'dawned-on-me' that younger riders are probably not aware of 36 year old Daryl Hurley’s hugely impressive pedigree, in particular from 1997 to 2008.


He claimed his first national title - the New Zealand Junior Motocross Championship - at 15yrs.


A privateer deal for 1997 saw him cross the Tasman to compete in the Australian Motocross Championship. The following season, 1998, he landed a factory supported ride in Australia, allowing him to turn professional. He collected second place in the 125cc Australian Motocross Series and won the Pro 650 and Pro Outright Thumper Nationals. Back home during that same year, Hurlz clinched another National title to be crowned the New Zealand 125cc Motocross Champion.


Stepping up to the 250cc Australian Motocross Championship in 1999, Hurlz claimed second place and again dominated the Thumper Nats Series to be the Australian 4-Stroke National Champion, this time clinching victory in the Pro 400 and Open classes.


In 2001, he joined the Suzuki factory team; a relationship that was to produce strong results with Hurlz winning the final round of the Australian Motocross Pro Lites Championship aboard his Suzuki RM125. Continuing this success back in his home country, Hurley won the 2001 New Zealand Motocross 125cc Series title and came second in the 500cc class. Hurley was also crowned the New Zealand Supercross 250cc Champion, seizing victory in his second national title with Suzuki for 2001.


Hurlz exceptional form carried over into 2002, claiming second place in both the Australian Supercross Masters Pro Open Championship and the Australian Thumper Nats. Hurlz also contested the 2002 New Zealand Motocross Championship, again winning the 125cc title and scoring second place in the 500cc class.


With support from Suzuki Jay Foreman, Hurley landed a guest ride with the Roger de Coster Suzuki factory team in America and subsequently acquired a much sought after ride with the international Motoworld Suzuki Team to contest selected rounds of the AMA 125cc West Region Supercross series, AMA 250cc Supercross series and the AMA 125cc Motocross Championship.

Racing in the AMA 125cc Motocross Championship in 2003, Hurlz produced a string of outstanding performances including a personal highlight of finishing eighth overall at Budds Creek in Maryland - a stunning result for a privateer rider in the uncompromising US competition.


Suitably impressed by Hurley's results, the Motoworld Suzuki Team signed him to compete in the U.S. and World Championship events for 2004. He won Round 1 of the THQ World Supercross Championship in Spain, 2004.


Completing his U.S. racing commitments Hurlz returned to New Zealand at the tail end of 2004 to dominate the 125cc Senior Motocross Championship, claiming the title for the fourth time in his career.


Looking for the opportunity to return to a factory supported team, Hurlz re-signed with long-term friend and mentor Foreman to contest the 2005 Australian Motocross and Supercross series with Team Shift Motul Suzuki.


Off to a flying start in 2005, Hurley won the New Zealand 250cc Supercross title for the second time in his career.


Racing Suzuki's all-new, four-stroke motocross weapon, the RM-Z450, Hurlz charged to victory in the Australian Motocross Championship, securing the number one plate and the 2005 Rider of the Year Award.


Blasting into the Australian Supercross Championship, Hurley demoralised the competition in the opening rounds and looked certain to seal a second Australian title for 2005, before a devastating knee injury left him sidelined and awaiting reconstructive surgery. Making a full recovery, Hurlz returned to competition in 2006 and led the Australian Motocross Championship from the opening round to round eight before suffering a second season-ending knee injury.


The Suzuki star subsequently endured the longest lay-off of his career ahead of the 2007 Australian off-road racing season. He battled injuries to secure second place in the Australian Motocross Championship.

In 2008 he wrapped up both the New Zealand Motocross and Supercross Championships.


In 2009 he was racing at the NZ Nationals and on a wet October day at Rotorua he attempted what was a very tricky uphill triple.  I can still see it, a sickening crash in which he totally shattered his left ankle. 

Photo at left courtesy of  Under his left arm is his Renny Johnston who is still on spanners for Daryl.

That injury was to take a long time to get over.  It was also the turning point in his career, time to concentrate on his family with wife Jo and two children and his motorcycle business he co-owns with Zane Green - Action Suzuki in Hawera.

2013 and there he was back competing in the four round MX1 Nationals.  

#912 leads them out at Patetonga - that's Todd Waters #47 on his right.  Photo - AlanH.

Photo - AlanH.

Photo - Phil Smith (Clmintiepix)

After those four rounds this was the Top 5 Overall.

1st  Cody Cooper 289 
2nd Billy Mackenzie 241 
3rd Todd Waters 235 
4th  Daryl Hurley 182 
5th  Justin McDonald 174

Many thanks to Daryl and Suzuki Australia for their input.