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Motocross: Yamaha men take charge in the sand

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

By Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ

The Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team took command of proceedings at round three of the New Zealand Motocross Championships in the Manawatu at the weekend.

Team riders Dean Ferris and Dylan Walsh dominated both the premier classes at the sandy Himatangi circuit on Sunday and have now set themselves up superbly for a glorious finish at the final round of the series in Taupo in two weeks' time.

Australia's Ferris trailed MX1 class defending champion Cody Cooper by 13 points at the start of the day on Sunday, but was on top of the standings, one point clear of Cooper, by the end of it.

Scoring 3-1-1 results in his three MX1 races on Sunday, Ferris ruled at the sand-based coastal track and, after declaring afterwards that both the Manawatu and Taupo tracks were his "favourites" of all the Kiwi venues he's raced on, it certainly now looks ominous for his title rivals.

"Not being able to win the first moto today was a shame. I was leading the race but made a small mistake, crashed and lost momentum, and the other riders capitalised on it," said Ferris.

"I don't feel I pushed as hard today as I usually do in training and I believe I could have stepped it up if I'd needed to. I pushed a bit harder in the third race because Cooper was not too far behind me, but I still finished with a good gap over him.

"I'm in a better position now than I was prior to the final round last season and I love the Taupo track, so I'm really looking forward to that."

Ferris lost his championship lead last season when he crashed at the Rotorua round of the nationals, but he went on to win the day at Taupo's final round last year and eventually came up just two points short of winning the title.

This time around he's leading as the series heads to the final round and that could make all the difference for the 26-year-old from Kyogle, in New South Wales.

Meanwhile, Walsh was even more dominant in his races on Sunday, racing to a hat-trick of wins in the MX2 (250cc) class and making huge inroads into the points lead enjoyed by defending champion Hamish Harwood.

Walsh began the day 20 points adrift of Takaka man Harwood, but ended it just 11 points behind.

Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team boss Josh Coppins was naturally thrilled with his riders' efforts on Sunday.

"This is what we needed; hoped for and worked for," said the former Grand Prix star from Motueka.

"It was a big effort from all our team crew and I can't thank them enough. All of our product suppliers were brilliant too."

"The riders were patient and rode smart and we plan now to lift things to another level again at the final round."

The Altherm JCR Yamaha team-mates of Ferris and Walsh, Mangakino's Kayne Lamont (MX1) and Waitakere's Ethan Martens (MX2), are respectively positioned sixth and third overall in their classes after three rounds.

The fourth and final round of the series is set for the Digger McEwen Motocross Park in Taupo on March 25.

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