Big Weekend for the Kiwis in Latvia

Published: Mon 22 Sep 2014 04:39 PM
Big Weekend for the Kiwis in Latvia
SEPTEMBER 22, 2014: New Zealand is deep in the trenches on the frontline for the “war of the worlds” this weekend.
New Zealand will again have a solid presence at the big annual Motocross of Nations, with the strong three-rider squad lining up to for the 68th edition of the event, set for at Kegums, in Latvia, this coming Saturday and Sunday.
Queenstown’s Scott Columb, Dargaville’s Hamish Dobbyn and Takaka’s Hamish Harwood will fly the Kiwi flag in Latvia this weekend in what could be the biggest motocross experience of their lives.
The manager for Team New Zealand is Wanaka’s Dave Craig.
Often referred to as the "Olympic Games of motocross", the Kiwi trio know it won’t be easy facing the world’s elite on such a massive stage, but each of them is determined to put on a good showing.
The three-rider teams are glittering with the biggest names in the sport, including riders from both the United States national championships scene and the predominantly European-based World Motocross Championships.
New Zealand has been on the MXoN podium on three memorable occasions in recent times – at Foxhills, in England, in 1998 (with Darryll King, Shayne King, Josh Coppins); at Namur, in Belgium, in 2001 (Daryl Hurley, Josh Coppins, Shayne King) and at Matterley Basin, in England, in 2006 (Josh Coppins, Cody Cooper, Ben Townley).
Queenstown’s Columb has raced this event on two previous occasions – in England in 2008 and in Italy in 2009 – but his young team-mates this time, Dobbyn and Harwood, are both first-timers.
Since leading Kiwi internationals such as the King brothers, Motueka’s Coppins, Tauranga’s Townley and Hawera’s Hurley have all retired from overseas competition, New Zealand is now looking to the next wave of youth talent to step up and the New Zealand trio this year is determined to impress.
New Zealand finished 15th when the race was staged in Belgium in 2012 and wound up 20th in Germany last season. This year's edition of the big race is again shaping up as an extraordinary battle, where just qualifying for one of the 20 spots in the main event on Sunday is a huge achievement.
With 34 countries entered this year, down from 40 in Germany last year, the odds of New Zealand qualifying have increased, but nothing is guaranteed because they will still be facing up to 100 of the best motocross riders on the planet.

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