Kiwi’s racing in Europe: what’s to learn

Kiwi’s racing in Europe: what’s to learn

In 2007 NZ’s Hamish Dobbyn, first young 15 year old broke Kiwi drought of riders competing in Europe under the watchful guidance of Harry and Stefan Everts. It was a meeting at Taupo Extrvanganza in 2006, when Stefan raced among 5 other International stars, Dobbyn was spotted by the 10x World MX Champion- and opportunity knocked.

Hamish Dobbyn 2009 Photo Credit: Rice Photography

Settling in challenges in Europe resulted in the young-racer returning home, to take most prestigous 3rd place in FIM Junior Motorcross World Championship at Taupo Motorcycle club in 2009 and latter rides in Australia, and NZ. Rest is history.

2019 brings fresh opportunities for 3 NZ’ders: Dylan Walsh MX2, Josiah Natzke National Series within Germany and possibly EMX250, and Courtney Duncan WMX.

For Josiah, 2015 EMX 125cc was a stunning year finishing: 5th, 10th, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 4th and 2nd wrapping up 2nd Overall behind Jorge Prado in the 8 Round Series. And it was nail-biting to the end with only 2 points separating Prado and Natzke going into the Final at Assen, Netherlands August 31st ‘015.

Key to Josiah’s 2015 preparations was working with Ben Townley in NZ, racing NZ MX Nationals double-classing prior to leaving for Europe in March. It was tough schedule. Josiah at 16 years of age, had already confirmed his potential to race European MX Championship Series, taking 3rd in Czech Republic Round 2014- # 33 was ready to race.

Josiah Natzke AUS Supercross Auckland 2018

Since, transitions from leaving KTM Junior Factory Team under Stefan, to racing Honda, now based in Germany lined up to compete National Series and possibly EMX 250cc/MX2 Natzke has different set of challenges ahead of him.

Courtney Duncan has had fair share of battles in European Women MX World Championship finishing Overall 2016: 5th, 2017: 3rd, 2018: 4th. Now in Duncan’s 4th WMX Season, it would definitely seem odds are amped to max to finish what the inspiring Kiwi Women wanted so badly when #151 nailed 1-1 in her Opening debut WMX Round at Qatar in ‘016.

2019 Courtney’s switch of Brands, late seasonal arrival in Europe pre WMX Opener in 2 weeks, new base in UK, new Team support crew would test any rider’s ability to acclimatize, settle, manage bike set-up, get to grips with Europe’s track surfaces, along with lining up against WMX riders who have endured Europe’s winter to maintain training and preparation for racing- a feat to be accomplished.

Dylan Walsh Argentina Photo Credit: Revo Husqvarna UK

Dylan Walsh has spent all time living, training, racing overseas since 16 years of age. With all learning curves, experience and down-right hard work gained from riding at MTF Millsaps Training Facility for 2 years, then move to Europe and now on 3rd Team in as many seasons, # 53 has found comfortable personal and professional space under Revo Husqvrana UK Team.

Already confirmed potential winning MX2 R2 at Hawkstone Park International as pre-season build-up, Dylan has the speed, has the drive, has the courage and conviction of making sure everything is in place to get top results.

This sense of Dylan knowing when all boxes need to be ticked: bike, Team, support crew all working together for the Rider, has been achieved over time, over long sustained periods of dealing with things going right and wrong- all the while living away from gods zone: NZ. Dylan has to be respected on that fact alone.

Whichever results are achieved for 3 NZ riders competing in 2019 Europe MX Championship Seasons will come down to Rider’s ability to make crucial decisions which benefit their racing ability on the track.

Words: Sharon Cox.


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