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Submitted by Andy McGechan
Monday, 7th November 2016
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KIWIS BOX ABOVE THEIR WEIGHT IN THE USA

CAPTION: Hawera's Daryl Hurley (Husqvarna), the latest Kiwi to be crowned a motocross world champion. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

NOVEMBER 7, 2016: New Zealand sportsmen have once again boxed above their weight on the world stage, with a new Kiwi champion and numerous other top-10 results a feature of the 2016 Veterans' Motocross World Championships in the United States at the weekend.

Taranaki's Daryl Hurley and Taupo's John Kirkcaldie celebrated outright wins in their respective grades at the two-day event at California's Glen Helen Raceway, on the outskirts of San Bernadino, while Motueka's Josh Coppins (30+ Pro grade), Christchurch's Dean Baird (40+ Intermediate grade) and Wellington's Darryn Henderson (50+ Expert grade) had to be satisfied with finishing runners-up in their respective classifications.

Hawera bike shop owner Hurley took his Husqvarna to finish 1-1 in the 40 plus Pro Class to take that title, while Kirkcaldie won the 40+ Expert "support" grade with 1-2 results, with Winton's Martin Axtens finishing 5-8 to settle for 7th overall in the same grade.

Coppins finished 1-2 in his 30+ Pro grade, which positioned him first equal with American former factory test rider Mike Sleeter (2-1), although he was relegated to second overall because of the count-back rule (Sleeter having the superior result in the final race).

Baird finished 2-4 in his races to earn runner-up result his 40+ Intermediate grade and Henderson finished 2-2 to claim runner-up in the 50+ Expert grade.
Taranaki's Mitch Rowe finished 4-4 in his 50+ Pro class, which gave him fourth overall for the event, while the title went to British former factory GP racer Kurt Nicoll.

With riders permitted to compete also in younger age categories than their own, 51-year-old Rowe took advantage of the opportunity to also race in the 45+ Expert grade, where he finished 6-6 and a creditable 7th overall. Also taking advantage of the "drop down" rule, Axtens (7-8) finished 8th overall in the same category.

Papakura's Tony Cooksley managed 3-4 results for third equal in the 60+ Expert grade, level on the score-sheet with American former factory rider Chuck Sun, although relegated to fourth on count-back.

Bay of Plenty's Ian Conway finished 10-11 in the 55+ Intermediate grade, good for 11th overall, while Andrew Stewart finished 8-4 for fifth overall in the 50+ Novice grade.

Tauranga's Julie Managh finished 3-4 in the Intermediate Women's grade, which gave her fourth overall for the event. She had also raced in the non-championship women's race on Saturday, finishing fifth overall alongside the Expert grade competitors.

The Women's Expert class was won on Sunday by 2011 women's world champion Steffi Laier, from Germany, indicating the high calibre of riders present at the event.

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



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