Moto Media

Harrisville - Track upgrades for the MX Nationals

What it in fact did, was make it too fast for 'National' level riders for the 4th and final Round of the MX Nationals on 15 March.

Enter Greg Atkins, Track Director for Youthstream.  The man solely in charge of all the tracks for the MXGP World Championship.
Tony Cooksley, PukeMX's Track Manager, had arranged for Greg to fly out from Belgium, to make changes prior to Round 4.

The day after Greg arrived the hydraulic pump on the Club's big Komatsu bulldozer failed so in stepped Duncan McNaughton (Siteworks Solutions) who had a 14 tonne digger available over Auckland's 3 day Anniversary Weekend. 

The back section (South/West) is well liked by the fast riders as it can be very technical and has the two BIG jumps, namely #1 and #1½. 

After discussion with Tony, Greg chose to make changes to the beginning of that section.  Any track changes at Harrisville mean time consuming changes to the irrigation.    

A MXGP track is normally 1500 metres and average 1 minute 40 seconds per lap.  Fastest laps can sometimes be 1:30.  The back section starts at the 'container jump', downhill to the now very wide 180º left hander and up to the 8 metre wide step-up. Around the barrier lined 'bowl' and off downhill to #1 and back over #1½.

'Politics' aside, Greg said that section was just too fast so he set about changing it with Siteworks Solutions digger over those 3 days. 

This is what it looked like after 3 days on the digger !!

First change was to shorten up the approach (aka slow down) to the left-hander down to the step-up.

As it rises to the shortened corner Greg calls it a floater, before it drops away steeply to another floater.

This pic shows the steepness.

The big news is the step-up has gone, replaced by a triple.  Club riders can double / single it with ease plus there is a learners strip up the left-hand-side.

Deceiving in this pic but the landing area has been shortened up and another steep drop-off to the right, over another floater, then down and up to #1. 

The barriers have come well forward - the turn is a lot steeper than it looks here.  The area behind the barriers is all new spectator space and where the digger is is also the spectator spot for the holeshot - that has been rolled flat.

Scott Willis has spent a couple of day in his digger and on the Club's bulldozer since Greg returned to Belgium. 

Greg says that MXGP has had problems with their jumps now that the newer classes have been introduced.  All big jumps have a rolled top so that it's very safe no matter what the capacity. The landing areas are all wider as well.

This is the back of #1.  It's now 9-10 metres wide and 'fuller' in the gut - not so steep as it used to be.  Since this pic it has been rolled extensively. 

#1½ has had the same treatment and Greg & Tony call it #1¾.  It has a new jump face which launches riders on a straighter trajectory.  The landing area is also 9-10 metres wide and shorter.  Again a steep'ish right-hander and off to the remainder of the back section which will be 2 metres wider everywhere.

Here's a panoramic shot of the changes.

Lots of tidying up to do before 15 March which is only 5 weeks away.  Besides the track work there' s lots of irrigation to sort.  Murray Aarts has spent days spraying weeds and was on the tractor-mower all day today.

Greg departed Tuesday night and left Tony with several 'ideas'.  They have since sorted the finish line.