#2 ranked rider primed for more grunt in 2015

Central and North Burnett Times - - JUNIOR SPORT - Shirley Way shirley.way@cnbtimes.com.au

MORE grunt and more speed will bring Neil Col­lard, Queens­land’s num­ber two ju­nior rider, back to the en­durance cir­cuit next year.

The 15-year-old Mur­gon racer placed sec­ond over­all in the 2014 Yamaha Queens­land Two Day En­duro Cham­pi­onship Se­ries at Mt Perry on the week­end.

While Neil won’t re­tire his 250cc, he may be back next sea­son on a 450cc bike as he grad­u­ates to the se­nior Ex­perts class in 2015, coach Stan Jor­gensen said.

“Next year, we might get him to ride 450cc, which will de­velop him as a rider, also on the 250cc,” Jor­gensen said.

“To get a kid to that level, it takes a lot of time and he won’t do it overnight.”

That said, his rise in en­durance rid­ing has been me­te­oric.

In just two years of ju­nior rac­ing, Neil has risen from a “mid-field rider” to be­come sixth in Aus­tralia and sec­ond in Queens­land.

A mat­ter of seconds can de­ter­mine rank­ings, de­spite the need to be fo­cussed for four-hour races, with short pit stops to re­fuel the bike and re­hy­drate the body.

On the week­end, Neil fin­ished less than a sec­ond be­hind Queens­land ju­nior cham­pion Seth Muller, after los­ing vi­tal seconds in the timed tests.

“I made a big mis­take in the last test,” Neil said. “I had to get off in the creek; I fell both sides and tried to pick it up again.

“On the test, you’ve got to look at the lines, what you’ve got to hit ... (and) watch out for rocks.”

Neil will spend the off-sea­son cy­cling, run­ning and pre­par­ing for next year.

“I train on week­ends and usu­ally try to ride Satur­day and Sun­day. Next year, we’re go­ing to go ex­pert, do all the Queens­land roads again, hope­fully all the off-roads we can af­ford, and rac­ing in the Un­der 19s class.”

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