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Young Yamaha Racer Taking It To The Max


APRIL 29, 2015: Motorcycle racers beware, Sanson's Max Hefferen is spreading his wings.

Just as wine supposedly gets better with age, so too, apparently, does  Manawatu teenager Max Hefferen.

He started racing motorcycles when he was just seven years old, but now aged 14, it means he's spent exactly half his life honing his skills and this is making him one of the most potent rising stars in the sport today.

Motocross has been his passion for all of this fledgling period, but he recently switched tack to give the parallel code of cross-country racing a try and he tasted immediate success there too.

Hefferen took his 125cc two-stroke Yamaha YZ125 to tackle the Wanganui Motorcycle Club's two-round cross-country racing series and he won both events in the junior grade, despite the fact his main rivals, Wanganui's Joe Wainhouse, was racing a 250cc four-stroke Yamaha YZ250.

"It was the first time he's ever tried cross-country racing. He had only ever done motocross before this," said his father and chief pit crew, Steven.

"He jumped straight in the deep end and learned lots from the experience. Max was a bit tentative at first because it's quite different in a lot of ways ... having to come in to refuel during the race for instance.

"He will race a few more club-level cross-country events before he hits the nationals though."

Max Hefferen finished a career-high fourth overall in the 12-14 years' 125cc class at the New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships near Te Kuiti earlier this month and that was also reason to celebrate.

"We don't usually have much luck at the motocross nationals and he had a few issues to deal with this time too. He crashed out of the first race of the weekend, when the track was extremely muddy, and twisted his knee.

"We purchased a JT Racing knee brace from a stall at the track and just carried on. He was fine after that and, apart from losing his rear brakes in another race over the weekend, he still managed to finish fourth overall. That's not bad considering he didn't finish one race."

Max says he's looking forward to racing the junior motocross nationals again next year, where he feels he can definitely improve on his national No.4 ranking.

"I liked racing the cross-country series too because I think that has helped with my fitness for motocross," said Max. "It also taught me a bit about how to read the terrain."

In addition to his parents, Steve and Rachael, sister Jade and cousin Aaron, Max Hefferen is supported by Freedom Moto Yamaha in Palmerston North,, Moto Mayhem, CFX Seats, Motovest NZ, Moto SR, Pirate Contracting, Pirelli, AGV, EBC Brakes and IPONE Oil.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan,



Andy McGechan Ltd

Phone 06-758-5182