There's a handful of Aussies racing in New Zealand for Yamaha in 2024. This is who they are and how they're looking.
A few Yamaha-backed riders journeyed across the border to participate in the Woodville GP event last week. This motocross race holds a venerable status on the New Zealand calendar, traditionally marking the commencement of the domestic racing in New Zealand.
The close collaboration between YMA and YMNZ often affords supported riders the chance to compete in events with the backing of Yamaha teams. At the Woodville GP, Jed Beaton, making his debut appearance on a Yamaha and riding under the JCR Yamaha banner on the 50th-anniversary model YZ450F, showcased his skills. This marked Beaton’s return to the starting gate since the final round of the 2023 ProMX championship in August, and a certain eagerness accompanied his efforts to regain full fitness and speed.
Closing the day with 2-2-2 results, Beaton secured the second spot, trailing behind Hamish Harwood. Throughout each race, Beaton closely trailed Harwood, maintaining a gap of under three seconds between them as they distanced themselves from the rest of the pack. It marked a robust start to the year for Beaton, who plans to remain in New Zealand and collaborate with Josh Coppins for the upcoming New Zealand Motocross Championships starting next week.
Reflecting on his return to the race scene, Beaton stated, “It’s been a long time between races for me, and it was good to get back behind a start gate and experience the intensity that only racing brings. I felt pretty good on the bike, but I also believe there is room for improvement. The New Zealand champs will be the perfect platform to fine-tune myself and my bike, aiming for peak performance before the commencement of the ProMX championship in March” Beaton said.
Kobe Drew, representing WBR Yamaha, ventured to the event and competed in the MX2 division with support from JCR and the Blackwood Yamaha dealership. Although Drew is slated to participate in the MX3 class at the ProMX championships in Australia, he took on the challenge of racing in the MX2 class to expedite his speed and fitness development.
Closing the day with an overall 10th position, Drew achieved 9-9-11 results in a fiercely competitive division. While his starts were a bit sluggish in all three races, he adeptly maneuvered his way forward during each of the 20-minute races. Drawing valuable insights from the experience, he aims to continue honing his skills in preparation for the first round in Australia.
Heath Davy also took part in the Woodville GP, competing in the 13-15 years 85cc class. The Davy family has forged a friendship with the Townley family, and both on and off the track, the boys share a close bond. Heath secured a commendable third-place finish in his class, achieving consistent 3-2-3 results.