Motocross series to get under way

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Mud will fly this weekend as three Clutha motocrossers line up to start in the first round of the 40th Southern Motocross Series.

MX2 rider Madison Latta said he was keen to improve on his overall second place in last year’s series.

“It is a great event that’s always well supported by clubs around the region.

“It went through a slow patch for a while, but now it’s picking up again and there are a lot of good riders competing each year,” he said.

Latta said he trained three to four times a week on his race fitness and riding skills to prepare him for the gruelling series.

“I get out and ride when I can after work and most weekends. I need to because I know most of the competition and they are serious competitors.”

The young Balclutha motorcycle mechanic said his father, former Otago rugby captain and national veterans’ champion motocrosser David Latta, had passed on his passion for motocross to him, and he has been racing since he was 12.

“I came through the usual route from minis to juniors then up to the MX2 (motocross bikes up to 250cc) class, where I came second in last year’s series.”

Latta said he loved the sport and loved racing with his good friend and fellow racer Callum Paul. The two men work together as motorcycle mechanics at the Honda dealership in Balclutha.

“We ride a lot together and share racing data and information.” Latta said.

Paul said he has been a competitive rider since turning 11, and added that the two mates often raced against each other as they moved through the age group classes.

“I rode a couple of the rounds in last year’s series and am looking to to doing better this year,” Paul said.

Joining them on the circuit will be 9-year-old Rosebank pupil Connor Bond.

Now in his third year of competitive motocross, the young son of local motorsport legend Dean Bond has a heavy race schedule ahead of him this year.

He will race in the Southern Series in both mini and junior classes and in a month’s time will travel to the North Island to compete in the national mini motocross championship.

“I have a lot of fun riding and have made many new friends from all the meetings I have attended,” Connor said.

Series organiser Greg Baynes said they were expecting over 150 entries for the five-round series.

“There are a good number of riders entered this year and it’s great to see motocross has become popular again.

“The crowds are coming back and it’s a good strong series this year,” he said.

The five-round Southern Motocross Series will be hosted by five clubs in Otago and Southland over the next three months, with the first round hosted by the Central Otago Motorcycle Club, at Moa Creek, near Poolburn this weekend.

Competitors will then travel to Invercargill, Gore and Mosgiel before the finals are hosted by the South Otago Motorcycle Club in the Balclutha area on November 10.