Motocross legend hopes to foster new generation of riders

Local and international freestyle motocross legend Levi Sherwood returned to Central District Field Days in the hopes of laying the foundations to a new generation of motocross champions.
His goal is to build a large enough generation of motocross athletes so within the next decade they could host their own national competition.

At just nine years old, Sherwood began his motocross career at the Central Districts Field Days. He lives just up the road, and was happy to be back in front of a familiar crowd.

Twenty years later his goals have changed, but are no less ambitious. Instead of grinding for accolades from international competitions, he wanted to build upon the New Zealand motocross community.

* Central Districts Field Days promises a big boost for the rural economy
* February's string of major events in Manawat to benefit the region in more ways than just financial gain
* Central Districts Field Days - delivering innovation for 25 years

The first step to attracting new talent was being in front of large crowds.

Carlos Hanlon shows off his motocross skills.

Franklin Farm, the team he is part of, aims to perform at a dozen shows per year. Field Days, with its predicted 27,000 punters, was a definite must.

If theres no motocross events, then theres no reason [for new people] to ride a dirt bike, essentially, he said.

The goal was to build momentum over the next three-to-five years, until they had a large crew of younger guys who could be trained and perform at more events.

I really enjoy riding at events like this because it's just a lot of fun. But I think if I wasn't shooting towards growing the sport in general, I really wouldn't be riding outside of home.

Although Sherwood did not label himself a coach or ambassador of the sport, he certainly performed the role of mentor.

He spoke highly of up-and-comer Jack Jury who was new to the sport and had recently completed his first backflip.

Carlos Hanlon, who at age 18 was also performing at Field Days, was another young athlete that Sherwood and Franklin Farms Nick Franklin had been working with for a number of years.

Hanlon performed on Friday, and was slightly nervous about his rustiness after Covid-19 restricted how much training he did.

Im sort of just focused on getting the tricks back that I used to have, rather than getting new ones, he said.

He felt a bit nervous about taking his feet off during the flips not that the audience knew judging from their impressed reaction.

Although he noted Sherwood had been world champion at Hanlons age, he had his own ambitions to travel the world and earn a living from the sport.

Hanlon had been mentored by Sherwood and Franklin since the age of 12, and said learning with a team who know the drill" was a lot better than learning by yourself.


Our Partner