Youngster wins his class to make a step up
Cambridge’s Jared Hannon was seemingly unstoppable, winning the eight-12 years’ 85cc class at the Kawasakisponsored annual New Zealand Mini TT Championships.
The 12-year-old Te Miro Primary School pupil showed he truly was ready to make the next step up the age rankings where he will officially be battling the man he fought with unofficially at Taupiri all weekend, O¯ pa¯ rau’s Hunter Scott, the winner of the elder 13-16 years’ 85cc class.
Young Hannon was one of only a few riders to dominate so comprehensively on his Kawasaki KX85.
Runner-up to Scott in the 13-16 years’ class was Paeroa’s Ashton Whyte, also riding a Kawasaki KX85.
The two 85cc classes were raced on the track together at Taupiri, but scored separately. On each occasion it was Hannon and Scott out front, trading blows.
Hannon had finished third overall in the 11-12 years’ 85cc class at the New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships near Mosgiel last month.
With Hannon due to celebrate his 13th birthday before the 2019 junior nationals, next April, he and Scott are on a collision course for future junior titles.
Another Kawasaki rider from Cambridge, former world championship racer Damien King, was similarly dominant in winning his Veterans’ 35-44 years’ class at Taupiri.
The 42-year-old father-of-two, who raced in Europe between the years 1996 and 2000 — with a career-best Grand Prix finish of fifth overall in Germany in 2000, then racing for a factory support team — was almost unbeatable on the Saturday and Sunday.
He won all but one of his five veterans’ class races and was runner-up in the other one, earning the veterans’ title by a massive 26 points over Taupiri rider Andrew Hansen.
“I don’t ride as often as I’d like to these days,” said King.
“The KX450F is a great bike though and I ride it whenever I can. This is a great event too. Two days of racing dirt bikes on a track as cool as this is not to be missed.”
Also impressive in the distinctive green Kawasaki colour scheme was multi-times former national motocross champion Mike Cotter, the Cambridge man who is now general manager of Kawasaki New Zealand.
Despite having raced only once since December last year, the 43-year-old Cotter managed to finish an impressive fourth overall in the MX2 (250cc) class, won by 17-year-old former national champion Hayden Smith, of Massey, who is about to race internationally.
Other class winners at Taupiri included Nga¯roma’s Rachael Archer (women’s class). Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
WHIZ KID Jared Hannon (Kawasaki KX85) unbeaten in five races over weekend at Taupiri.