Raetihi girl a standout at nz junior motocross champs 2023
It really does not get any better than this … five wins from five starts saw Raetihi’s Karaitiana Horne totally dominate proceedings and easily win her class at the 2023 New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships in Southland at the weekend.
The annual school holiday event was run over three days, from Friday through until Sunday, at The Sandpit track at Otatara, on the southern outskirts of Invercargill, and it mostly took until the final lap of the final race before a title winner could be declared.
This was true in all cases, except for that of GasGas bike racer Horne, the 14-year-old so dominant that she could have afforded to finish somewhere back in the pack in her final outing and still capture the junior girls’ 12-16 years’ 125cc/250cc class crown.
It was her second consecutive national junior girls’ title after she had taken an 85cc version of the distinctive red GasGas bike brand to win the younger age group title – in the 12-16 years’ 85cc/150cc class – last season.
In the end, Horne finished a solid 15 points clear of her nearest challenger in Invercargill, Mangakino’s Teagan Wilkin-Thom, with Taupo’s Mikayla Griffiths claiming the final podium spot, another 10 points further back.
Horne also raced against the boys in the 12-14 years’ 125cc class, but was forced to settle for fourth overall in this 22-rider division, with Leeston’s Kase Thoms winning the title overall on an identical GasGas MC125 machine.
“The track was rough and it was pretty hard riding two classes, especially in the one against the boys,” said Horne afterwards.
“I was doing faster lap times than most of the boys, but I was still satisfied with finishing fourth against them.
“I won all the girls’ races by quite a long way,” said Horne, a year 10 pupil at Ruapehu College in Ohakune.
The news just gets worse too for the junior girls, with Horne still eligible to race for the title in her class for another two seasons before she eventually graduates to the senior women’s ranks.
Horne is also now considering a trip overseas to race in the Australian junior nationals, in Darwin in two months’ time.
Other class winners at the event were Pukehina’s Flynn Watts (14-16 years’ 250cc class); Silverdale’s Seth Morrow (15-16 years’ 125cc class); Otorohanga’s Cooper Phillips (14-16 years’ 85cc/150cc class); Mangakino’s Maz Parkes (12-13 years’ 85cc/150cc class); Ohoka’s Levi McMaster (8-11 years’ 85cc/150cc class); Taupo’s Connor Feather (8-11 years’ 65cc class) and Whangarei’s Hannah Perris (12-16 years’ 85cc/150cc girls’ class).
Photo by Geoff Guthrie Imagery
Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com