Posted By: James Hanson
The veteran Waikato warrior was a surprise last-minute entry in the MX2 (250cc) class for this season’s New Zealand Motocross Championships and, when he did stun onlookers by showing up to race at the series opener near Timaru in February, it was with an “old school” two-stroke bike that many felt should not have been competitive against the high-tech four-stroke technology of today.
But the 42-year-old MXDK Rockstar Yamaha Team manager and his Yamaha YZ250 proved themselves to be up to the task, King third overall after the opening round but leading the championship after round two.
He had slipped back to second spot, two points behind visiting Australian superstar Daniel McCoy after round three, but, with the fourth and final round on the New Plymouth track the former Taranaki man had honed his skills on so many years before, a fairytale finish seemed likely.
And that’s exactly what happened with King taking his MXDK Rockstar Yamaha YZ250 to finish 1-4-1 in Taranaki on Sunday, taking the title by four points from Sydney rider McCoy.
“I didn’t think I could do this,” said King.
“I was on an old two-stroke bike against some very fast kids of four-strokes but, I suppose, all my Grand Prix experience counted for something.”
Though the spotlight was on him, King neatly diverted the glare towards his team-mates as he slipped effortlessly back into his more customary role as manager to reflect on how his MXDK Rockstar Yamaha team had performed.
“It’s a real shame we couldn’t get a clean sweep of titles. We had been leading all four classes,” he shrugged.
A double jump on the track claimed MX1 championship leader Josh Coppins in the first race and the ankle injury he sustained later proved serious enough that he had to opt out of the final race of the series, costing him any chance to grabbing the national MX1 crown and adding that to the three supercross titles he pocketed earlier in the year, as well as the Woodville Motocross GP title.
Meanwhile, Waitakere’s Ethan Martens (MXDK Rockstar Yamaha YZ125) was untroubled to wrap up both the 125cc and under-21 titles on Sunday.
“I suppose, as a team, we have to be satisfied with winning just three out of four titles this year,” said King.
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com