Taikorea MX moves into top gear
February 2012 saw an exciting new direction with Paul and Katherine Whibley purchasing Taikorea Motorcycle Park. Even with three more years racing in the USA Paul still managed to organise an impressive event each year on his return to New Zealand. At the conclusion of the 2014 US season, Paul and Katherine made the decision to reside full-time in NZ.
Above: 1975 - Brian Elwood Palmerston North Mayor officially opens the venue with a large contingent of riders on hand - image supplied by Morley Sherriffs.
Taikorea, Where it all started
In 1975 the MOMCC (Manawatu Motorcycle Club) were on the scout for something a little more permanent regarding the off-road side of the business. Even back then it was getting a little hard to secure land for events. On top of that was the set-up time involved in bringing materials out (pegs, bunting, start gate etc), marking the track and even supplying toilets (this involved digging holes each time and erecting a plastic cloth/vinyl surround). Then just when you were cold, wet , tired and wanting to go home you had to pack everything up again. There had to be a better way?
After an extensive search a little sandy soil based property located at Taikorea (near Himitangi beach) became available and seemed to be the ideal setting. So the club took out a lease. The idea was to have regular Dirt-Days and MX events. It was going to be great! Arguably MOMCC were the first club to have their own permanent facility.
Dirt-Days and organised MOMCC Motorcycle events from motocross to hare-scrambles (cross-country) were held. The venue also developed track-wise thanks to many key supporters who loaned machinery and time.
Paul Whibley 2012 - on his way to a GNCC series win. He rode at Taikorea on many ocassions in his developing years.
After a few years as a successful venue the property was put up for sale. Mort Andrews (MOMCC club parton at the time) purchased the property to keep it dirt-bike focused. The park ran regular dirt-days, high level training from top riders (national and international), local and national Motocross events for thirty-five years.
For his efforts to motorcycling Mort Andrews in 2008 won the award for services to Motorcycling. A fitting result to a lifetime involvement in the sport. At the same awards, local off-road big winner on the night was Paul Whibley. Ironically
a little over three years on from that awards ceremony would see Paul and Katherine Whibley rekindle the magic of the park. They bought Taikorea-MX and in the process have given it an exciting future direction.
Taikorea-MX isn't everybody's cup of tea with its sandy undulating base and heavy demand on the physique. But if you want to make it in this sport... it's an ideal venue!
Many a top rider (including Paul) have ridden at Taikorea over the years. In 1996 a relatively young yet immensely talented rider spent countless hours carving up the nicely groomed tracks. Shane King 'himself' attributed the Taikorea work-outs as a big part of his success at the sand tracks of Belgium and Holland. That year Shane was crowned 500cc World Champion.