Tokanui rider chases na­tional ti­tle

Newslink - - YOUR HEALTH - ANDY MCGECHAN

At the ten­der age of South­lander Mitchell Weir na­tional cham­pion al­ready.

But he won’t be de­fend­ing his ti­tle at the 2017 New Zealand Motocross Cham­pi­onships, in­stead he’s chas­ing a new ti­tle, at the next level up in the com­pe­ti­tion.

The Yamaha rider won the 8-10 years’ 85cc class ti­tle when the ju­nior na­tion­als were staged in Hawke’s Bay last sea­son and now he’ll move on to tackle the 11-12 years’ 85cc class at the na­tion­als in Taranaki this week­end.

Step­ping up a grade is al­ways a daunt­ing prospect, but the young rider from Tokanui is well pre­pared for the na­tion­als at the Taranaki Mo­tor­cy­cle Club’s pop­u­lar Bar­rett Road fa­cil­ity, on the out­skirts of New Ply­mouth.

Weir has done his home­work on the track, hav­ing made the jour­ney to race there at the an­nual 11, is a Alpines­tars King of the Moun­tain motocross event in Jan­uary.

He scored a hat-trick of wins, eas­ily enough to add an­other 8-11 years’ 85cc class tro­phy to his col­lec­tion, and then fin­ished fourth over­all in his de­but ride in the 12-13 years’ class at the big an­nual New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville a week later.

‘‘But I’ve been do­ing a lot of train­ing with (Ti­maru motocross rider) Jeremy McKnight and (Motueka’s for­mer GP motocross racer) Josh Cop­pins and I’ve been get­ting faster. I needed to work on in­creas­ing my cor­ner speed and that’s what helped me.’’

Weir has been rac­ing motocross since he was aged four and won the na­tional 7-8 years’ 65cc mini motocross ti­tle in 2014, be­fore win­ning the na­tional 8-11 years’ ti­tle last sea­son.

Weir, a year seven pupil at Tokanui School, reck­ons he has a good chance of win­ning the 11-12 years’ 85cc ti­tle this week­end, al­though he’s tak­ing noth­ing for granted.

He iden­ti­fies Ran­giora’s Co­bie Bourke and Ron­gotea pair Rhys Jillings and Seth Hen­son as rid­ers most likely to trou­ble him al­though there are plenty of other ti­tle con­tenders too, with Tau­ranga’s Madoc Dixon im­press­ing in this class at Woodville, while Hamil­ton’s Dy­lan West­gate and fel­low for­mer 8-11 year’s class rider Lo­gan Denize, from Kerik­eri, will also per­haps threaten.

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