Moto Media

Damned if you do and damned if you don’t !

The New Zealand Motocross Nationals is run by the four Clubs, by Committees who are all volunteers. Bryan Davidson, as the MNZ Motocross Commissioner might call the ‘shots’ but it’s the Clubs that host the events. Remember too that Bryan is also a volunteer.

Too much water, as the Pukekohe MCC discovered, when the ‘somebody’ opened the waterline that flooded the straightaway from the holeshot corner two years ago.  Michael Phillips will never forget that as he endo’d in a water hidden rut.

No water and you get dust, as was a problem at Timaru’s Round 1 of the Nationals.

I wasn’t at that Round 1 but followed it via the live-timing and the odd phone call.  Not an easy task as internet from that remote location is sketchy at best.  

Posting updates on Facebook generated over 9,000 views - from Woodville there was 12,046 at last count from some 35 updates. 

At Timaru there was a big stoppage after Round 1 and it wasn’t ‘till I was able to make phone contact that I found out that they had been watering the track for two hours – the dust was just that bad.  Why, because their pump had broken down on the Wednesday and the hadn’t been able to get enough water on.  It’s a long track with an average 125 lap time of 2min 16secs.

Apart from the race reports that ‘alluded’ to the dust problem nobody has really spoken out about it.  I put that reasoning down to the fact that it’s all work by volunteers.  Criticise them and ‘you shoot yourself in the foot!’

Andy McGechan’s piece in the NZ Herald on 09 February alluded to the dust.  When writing about Cody Cooper he said; "He also had to again duck rocks and survive the dusty and demanding ….”.  In that same piece he quotes Coops; "I shot off the track at one stage, where I couldn’t see where I was going in the blinding dust and that cost me a bit …”  

Now that’s bold stuff from Andy who also works for MNZ.

This is the MX1 Race 1 holeshot courtesy of Ryan Burrows - that’s Michael Phillips on the deck. 

Michael DNF'd  finished the day 0-6-8 for 11th overall.  An average of 7th in Race 1 might have seen him in 8th place overall. 

Three years ago MNZ asked Tony Cooksley to be Track Safety Inspector.  That brought about some changes that year especially to the Supercross tracks at Tokoroa and Hamilton. So where is/was one now?  It’s since become very clear that it was unsafe.

Rider’s recourse was Tony Rees as the Rider’s Representative and quite a few riders spoke to him but as Tony said; "They could see for themselves they had a big problem and were probably going to fix it anyway.”     

Having since spoken to many that were there, on a track that has soo many jumps, it was not only unsafe, it was nothing short of dangerous.  Several that I spoke to had collided with banks that they could not even see. 

All very well to raise it now but where to from here?  

The PukeMX track at Harrisville has an irrigation system and at this time of year it usually starts off muddy/tacky having been ripped but by the mid afternoon it’s hardpack with black tyre marks and some dust where the sprinklers are held up by the wind - as it was at last Sunday’s Club Day.

Track Manager for Harrisville is Tony Cooksley; "I spent 14 hours last week getting this track prep’d and a few grizzle about a couple of puddles.  Hey, it’s motocross - Goudenz Gisler would say "If you want an easy sport, take up golf.”

Tony, like all the others, is a volunteer.   He continues; "At Harrisville it takes 36 hours to fill the dam but only 8 to empty it.  Getting all that right is not that easy.  The sun and the wind, can and does, dry it out quickly but as long as it’s damp underneath you’re more than half-way there. Hopefully we will also get rain in the next three weeks before our Round 3.”

Tokoroa and Taupo both use water-trucks so all of the next three rounds should be okay.

In closing, how bad was it at Timaru?  Campbell Bailey is a Top10 MX1 rider.  This is his race report - I checked again to see if I could repeat it verbatim.

Alan H.   (