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Submitted by Andy McGechan
Thursday, 7th July 2016
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The 2016 Motocross of Nations


CAPTION: Taupo businessman Bevan Weal, the man to lead Team New Zealand in Italy in September. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

JUNE 29, 2016: Team New Zealand will have a new man at the helm when it heads to Italy in September.

Bay of Plenty businessman Bevan Weal has been appointed manager of the three-rider Team New Zealand squad to race the 70th annual Motocross of Nations (MXoN) often referred to as the Olympic Games of Motocross' at Maggiora, near Borgomanero, in northern Italy, on the weekend of September 24-25.

"I've been involved with motocross since I was aged 13 and this event, this year in Italy, is the biggest in the world. It's a huge responsibility for me to manage Team New Zealand and also a huge honour," said the 47-year-old Weal, the owner of a Taupo sign and graphics company.

One of his first duties will be to sit down with Motorcycling New Zealand motocross commissioner Howard Lilly, from Karaka, and Palmerston North's renowned national motocross commentator Neil Ritchie to mull over the rider options, the three men the designated selectors for the three-rider Kiwi squad.

There are seven riders who have made themselves available for selection and they are Tauranga's Ben Townley, Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper, Mount Maunganui's Rhys Carter, Queenstown's Scotty Columb, Takaka's Hamish Harwood, Hamilton's Josiah Natzke and Ngatea's Ben Broad.

All but Natzke and Broad have had previous experience racing for New Zealand at this event.

"My job is to get our riders to the start line with the minimum of fuss, so that they can concentrate on the job of racing," said Weal.

"We are a small country but we produce some remarkable talent in this sport and there's no reason why we can't be on the podium. Anything can happen in a day of racing. I think that, realistically, if we can get three good results, we can finish among the top 10 again.

"Howard, Neil and I will get together, interview the riders and decide which combination will work best for us and then name the final team within the next two weeks or so."

Townley, Cooper and Mangakino's Kayne Lamont were the Kiwi trio to race at the MXoN when it was held in France last year and they finished eighth overall among the more than 30 countries entered.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

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