#2 ranked rider primed for more grunt in 2015
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.”