A GOOGLE MAPS VIEW OF TAUPO
ONE SECOND LATER, THE OPERATOR, NOT LIKING BARE FEET ON HIS PLATFORM, SHOVED MATISS OFF
After the fun and games, it was time for some work, and Matiss headed for the Taupo track for the weekend's race. The organizers also invited other international stars, such as New Zealand native Josh Coppins, Gareth Swanepoel, Billy Mackenzie and Jason Dougan. Matiss proved that his world title was no fluke, qualifying fastest in his group in the MX2 class.
Unfortunately for the friendly Latvian, his racing exploits on the weekend were to be short lived. After a good start, he charged into the lead in the MX2 race. Within a few laps, he had built a comfortable lead, but then misfortune struck. Misjudging a notorious jump on Taupo's rough track, he landed off-track and was catapulted off his Suzuki. Again gravity did its job, but this time there was no parachute or bungee to catch his fall, and all the braking force was provided by the Taupo underground. Matiss sprained his wrist, and his day's racing was done.
EVEN ON A FAST LAP, MATISS TOOK TIME OUT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE PHOTOGRAPHER
(Pic - Holeshot New Zealand)
Disappointed as he was with his forced withdrawal from the race, Matiss could draw some consolation from the fact that he posted the fastest lap time in his race, and in fact was less than a second slower than GP top gun Coppins, who rode in the MX1 class. Hosts Grant and Vicki Townley were quick to put him at ease, and his new friends and fans attended an evening party to see off the Latvian visitors.
Matiss will spend the next week or so recovering from his injury, after which testing will commence on the MVRD Suzuki in preparation for the 2009 world championship racing season.
Full race results are available online.
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