Motorsport: Kiwi motocross legend Shayne King mentors Kiwi racers

New Zealand has a history of punching above their weight at the 'Motocross of Nations', with three third-place finishes at the sport's equivalent of the Olympic Games.

But to fly even higher up the standings in a fortnight's time, the Kiwis have enlisted the expertise of the country's first motocross world champion, Shayne King.

King doesn't just bring his 1996 World Championship experience to the table, he's also competed at 12 motocross of nations events, finishing on the podium twice.

"Really exciting to represent your country to not have the expectation to actually be on the podium and then all of sudden final race of the day on a Sunday you've finished third two times," King told Newshub.

King's now one of the team's managers for this year's event in at Red Bud, Michigan.

He's hoping to help this year's team of Cody Cooper, Rhys Carter and Hamish Harwood continue to exceed expectations.

"He was obviously an awesome rider back in the day and will be good to have him on the team and give us some pointers," Harwood said.

“He knows where what we're not looking at sometimes like on the track he can see and you trust in him what he has to say” Cooper added.

Unlike normal motocross where every man fights for themselves, the 'Motocross of Nations' is a team event.

All three riders compete in their individual classes with points acquired in reverse. You get one point for first, two for second, three for third and so on. The lowest combine score wins which means riders must finish at all costs.

"I guess it's a little bit more pressure cause you don't want to let them down but in the same respect you kind of use it as a motivation," Carter told Newshub.

Only twenty out of nearly forty teams qualify for Sunday's championship races.

Over 120,000 tickets have been sold already. It’s an experience unrivalled in the sport, especially for Harwood and Carter who do the majority of their competing in Australia.

"In Australia there's one to ten fast guys that you battle with all year, but over there there’s going to be forty guys are fast so there’s no rest," Carter said.

Along with looking to King for advice, Cooper will also be one of the experienced heads in Michigan.

The Bay of Plenty native has spent the year riding in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in the USA and raced at Red Bud earlier this year. He thinks the track will suit the Kiwis.

"It's like [NZ] in the winter. It's really rough and a bit rutty and stuff like that so I'm assuming it's going to be like that.

"It's going to be a bit cooler than when I race there in July so that's going to be beneficial for us, and were going to be able to push for longer in the motos".

The event gets underway October 6 with qualifying of around forty nations. Only 20 will advance through to the final day where the winners will be decided.

The New Zealand team are confident of making it through to Sunday, where King thinks anything can happen.

"Who knows, maybe a podium?"


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