Former Taihape man Simon Crafar (left), pictured here with a fan during a signing session at MotoFest last time around, will again be at MotoFest in 2024.

All roads will lead to the Hampton Downs race circuit in March next year when the Star Insure MotoFest again stages its celebration of motorcycling at the popular race facility near Meremere.

The event, set for the weekend of March 2-3, 2024, will be the fifth edition of the popular motorcycling festival, which also doubles as the sixth and final round in this season's New Zealand Superbike Championships.

Kiwi international Simon Crafar returns again to New Zealand as a special guest for the MotoFest extravaganza at the North Waikato racing circuit.

Crafar will certainly be one of the main draw-cards for the event, as a small-town Kiwi boy who spread his wings and tasted motorcycle road-racing glory at the ultimate level.

He later went on to craft a career as a coach and he is now a commentator in the MotoGP world championships, specialising in the technical elements and interviewing the likes of Italy’s just re-crowned world champion Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia, Spain’s 2023 season runner-up Jorge Martin, Spain’s multi-time former world champion Marc Marquez and flying Frenchman Fabio Quartararo, to name a few.

“I didn't enjoy the start of my commentary career,” Crafar confessed.

“It's not easy learning a new trade in front of such a huge audience, but, after six years, I've learned skills and built relationships, trust and respect with most of the key people in the MotoGP paddock, which gives me important information and interviews. It's what I know. I love this work."

It was exactly that sort of determined attitude that saw a younger Crafar race his Red Bull Yamaha to 500cc Grand Prix victory at Donington Park in 1998, was a third at Assen, Holland, and runner-up at Phillip Island, in Australia, that same season.

Crafar finished seventh in the 1998 world championships, behind motorcycling legends Mick Doohan, Max Biaggi, Alex Criville, Carlos Checa, Alex Barros and Norick Abe.

The Star Insure MotoFest on March 2-3, 2024, is two days of two-wheel racing action, headlined by the NZ Classic Grand Prix and the grand finale for the superbike nationals.

Joining Crafar as a special guest will be fellow Kiwi racing legends Graeme Crosby, Aaron Slight and Andrew Stroud, along with an impressive display of classic racing bikes from yesteryear, all on show in the Legends Garage.

The Motul Bike Park will deliver up an unprecedented mass of motorcycle eye candy for fans and exhibitions, along with off-track activities, are sure to delight the large crowds expected.

Star Insure MotoFest will certainly tick all the boxes with bike enthusiasts if the 2024 edition can match previous MotoFest spectacles.

If the Star Insure MotoFest doesn't get your heart racing, then you probably need to check your pulse.

Credit: Words by Andy McGechan,