As we transition into March we were once again fortunate enough to experience the annual Mike Pero MotoFest. The prestigious event hosted by Hampton Downs Motorsport Park is still young with 2019 only its second year running, however, once again it surpassed expectation. Running in conjunction with the third round of the New Zealand SuperBike Championship, also including the Kawasaki Public Trail Ride, Shoei Classic Races with special guests Simon Crafar, Chris Vermeulen and more there was plenty to see at the spectacular event.
Plenty of activity on and off the track kept everyone entertained throughout the day, great displays from Kawasaki New Zealand gave you the opportunity to check out their latest creations along with Shoei and LS2 showcasing their range of premium motorcycle helmets for 2019. When you had enough of looking at product you could have a go on the Straight Up Wheelies machine to see how great you are at getting the front wheel off the ground (and keeping it up) without the risk of sending it backwards aboard their Yamaha R6.
Also attending MotoFest was Shiny Side Up nearing the end of their New Zealand tour at Hampton Downs, the collaboration between ACC and the NZ Transport Agency focuses on rider safety. The initiative encourages motorcyclists to prioritise their safety by refreshing or updating their skills through Ride Forever coaching. Shiny Side Up featured experts from around the world including Brittany Morrow, Chris Hurren, Dave Moss and Kevin Williams and enabled riders a rare opportunity to meet them face-to-face and chat about rider safety.
There was never a shortage of action, throughout the day Dave McKenna aboard his Yamaha MT09 raced around the skidpan performing amazing stunts including one-handed wheelies, stoppies, standing burnouts and more. Also showcasing their incredible balance and throttle control was Jake Whitaker and fellow trial riders. While competing the riders presented their remarkable skills traversing 6 different obstacles that included huge vertical jumps/drops, stacked concrete drain pipes and lengthy concrete block courses.
The open-pit layout of the event gave you the opportunity to get up close with all the motorcycles set to race at the event, and with the addition of the Shoei Classic Races, there were some spectacular motorcycles to see from yesteryear. Though some would argue they never left 2-Strokes are back, their rising popularity amongst the motorcycling community enables us to experience these classic machines that were somewhat retired to the garages of enthusiasts once again on track and racing. A great opportunity for seasoned riders to reminisce the professional racing of late, or the modern generation to experience the history of Grand Prix racing.
Once you needed a rest after wondering the pits, fortunately, someone clever invited along the lads from the New Zealand SuperBike Championship. An incredible 16 different classes were racing during MotoFest including Sidecars, Post Classics, the premier Superbike and Superbike B along with the all-new Shoei Grand Prix 2-Strokes. The racing was amazing, the open layout of Hampton Downs enabled you to freely walk around the track and experience the racing from different perspectives without being restricted to a seat in your grandstand.
MotoFest was a great family event with something for everyone to enjoy despite your taste. A giant inflatable slide kept the youngest generation entertained once walking around the pits and watching the racing got too much for their shorter attention span. It was an excellent opportunity to meet world famous motorcycling athletes, experience some thrilling racing and get up close and personal with some amazing machines. MotoFest ticked all the boxes and is an event we’re looking forward to next year, especially if the Grand Prix 2-Strokes make their triumphant return once again.
Photography: dillonphotonz & Chris Neilsen
Location: Hampton Downs NZ