Flat Out On The Flat At Kuratau

Published: Tue 10 Jul 2012 10:38 AM
Flat Out On The Flat At Kuratau
CAPTION: Amberley’s Ian Ffitch (Honda), the man to look out for in the ATV class at Kuratau this weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan,
JULY 10, 2012: A combination of icy grass, deep ruts and high speed should make for some very close and exciting dirt bike racing near the sleepy lakeside tourist town of Turangi this weekend.
It was edge-of-the-seat racing at the New Zealand Motorcycle TT Championships near Turangi last season and it is expected to be more of the same when the bike racers hit Kuratau for the 2012 edition this Saturday and Sunday.
TT racing is like superbike racing on soil instead of tarmac – there are no jumps to slow down the dirt bike racers.
The entry list includes the stars of motocross, cross-country, enduro and even road-racing, All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and super motard and they will hit eye-watering speeds as they chase glory at this 13th annual Bike Torque-sponsored national TT championships at Kuratau.
The racing in the premier motorcycle category, the open class bikes, went right down to the wire last season before Wairarapa racer Mason Wilkie (Yamaha) finally tipped the balance of power his way, winning the open class ahead of
Taupo’s Cameron Dillon (Honda).
It is likely to be these two talented young riders who battle for top honours again in the open class this weekend, although they will also have to contend with riders such as former national TT champion Brad Groombridge, from Taupo, Ngatea’s Luke Temple, Pukekohe’s Scott Wilkins and Auckland’s Toby Summers.
In the ATV class it was Amberley’s Ian Ffitch leading all the way last year.
The Honda star drove up from quake-ravaged Canterbury region to do a little earth-shaking of his own at Kuratau last year, romping to his first outright win at the big annual event.
The then 41-year-old scored a clean sweep in the ATV Open class, recording a string of five convincing wins at the two-day event, and eclipsing three-time previous champion Quentin Palmer (Suzuki) in the process.
Ffitch will no doubt be the leading contender again this weekend but he will likely face a stern challenge from Rotorua’s Jason Jepson, Napier’s Wade Taylor and Tauranga’s Mark Goldstone, to name a few of the likely title candidates.
There is racing also this weekend in the women’s, juniors’ and veterans’ categories.
Organised by the Taumarunui Motorcycle Club, the venue is just off State Highway 41, and will be signposted from the Kuratau Junction, S.H. 41 and 32.
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,

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