Submitted by Andy McGechan
Thursday, 7th July 2016
Viewed 787 times

CAPTION: Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper wears a shirt with Workshop Graphics branding during the Team New Zealand campaign in France last year. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

JUNE 30, 2016: New Zealand can count of support from a generous motorcycling community when it takes on the world's elite at the Motocross of Nations in Italy later this year.

The three-man squad of riders is yet to be named, but already preparations have begun for an assault on this year's 70th annual Motocross of Nations (MXoN), set for Maggiora, in north-western Italy, on the weekend of September 24-25.

Freshly-appointed team manager Bevan Weal will take care of the logistics and, with financial backing from Darryl Blom, of Auckland company Workshop Graphics, and also thanks to last weekend's fundraising efforts by the Taupo Motorcycle Club and also with support from Motorcycling New Zealand, the Kiwi riders can relax and fully concentrate on the business of racing their bikes at this years' big event, often referred to as the "Olympic Games of motocross".

With backing from West Harbour-based company Workshop Graphics, the Taupo Motorcycle Club – which raised about $9000 at last weekend's Battle of the Clubs event – and with work behind the scenes from MNZ, the sport's governing body here, it is hoped Team New Zealand can again achieve well at this ultimate level of the sport.

"To build Workshop Graphics into a great business, I believe you must first give back and get in behind the industry, support the brands, dealers, clubs and riders and hopefully they will support you," said Blom, Workshop Graphics Limited's director and chief designer.

"I am personally 'over the moon' that Workshop Graphics can once again support New Zealand’s bid towards the MXoN. I am a very proud Kiwi bloke, who would love nothing more than to see Team New Zealand take the win in Italy and I consider myself very fortunate to be in a position to offer support."

The steep, hillside course at Maggiora, north-west of Milan, last hosted the MXoN in 1986, when the three-man team from the United States finished first and second in all three races, the most dominant performance by one country ever in the history of the event.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of that occasion in 1986.

The Team New Zealand riders will be among the many who will try to prevent that American whitewash happening again, although the defending MXoN champion team from France, last year's third-ranked team from Belgium and the Italian hosts will be among the more fancied contenders this September.

However, the Americans perhaps still remain the most-fancied to win it outright, having won the MXoN a record 22 times in the event's 69-year history.

With 16 wins, Great Britain is the second most successful country at the MXoN and Belgium is third with 15 outright victories.

New Zealand has finished a remarkable third outright at the MXoN on three memorable occasions in the past – in England in 1998, in Belgium in 2001 in England again in 2006.

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

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