Go­ing for broke

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

MO­TOR­CY­CLIST Jaden Has­san doesn’t let any­thing get in the way of suc­cess – not even a bro­ken an­kle.

Last week­end, the 14-yearold be­came the youngest New Zealand rider to win the North Is­land win­ter se­ries, de­spite com­pet­ing with a bro­ken an­kle.

Three-and-a-half weeks ago, with two rounds to go in the Mo­toGP TZ125, the mo­tor of the West­mere teenager’s bike seized at 180kmh. He was thrown over the han­dle bars on to the track and the bike landed on his right an­kle.

Even when he re­alised it was bro­ken, Jaden says the thought of quit­ting the race never crossed his mind.

“This was al­ways my goal. I wanted to be in the last round.”

He couldn’t bend his an­kle prop­erly but Jaden still fin­ished the sec­ond to last round more than 50 points in the lead, se­cur­ing the ti­tle be­fore last week­end’s fi­nal round.

Al­though he started rid­ing dirt bikes at age seven, Jaden only pro­gressed to rid­ing a TZ125 grand prix bike a year ago.

At just over six foot, and sig­nif­i­cantly taller than his com­peti­tors, his height has been a dis­ad­van­tage on the small bike – the Mo­tomail Yamaha TZ125 weighs only 69kg.

Work­ing part-time at Mo­tomail spe­cial­ist mo­tor­cy­cle store has helped to pay for mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the bike to suit his tall frame.

Able to go up to 225kmh, Jaden says the speed is what he loves about racing, even though it some­times makes him ner­vous be­fore races.

“It’s not a slow bike. When you’re lin­ing up on the grid it’s pretty nerve-wrack­ing.”

Jaden’s fa­ther Greg Has­san, who also has a racing back­ground, says he gets more ner­vous watch­ing his son race than when he races him­self, but says Jaden knows what he’s do­ing.

“I re­ally trust his judge­ment and abil­ity to ride the bike,” says Greg.

“He looked pretty good right from the beginning and he just keeps get­ting bet­ter.”

He says Jaden’s suc­cess so far has come with good ad­vice and help from spon­sors and also mo­tor­cy­cle en­gi­neer and men­tor Dave Cole.

“It’s not just the rider, it’s the ad­vice and the prepa­ra­tion as well,” says Greg.

Jaden will take time out from school at West­ern Springs Col­lege to travel to the South Is­land next month where he’ll test-ride the tracks for next year’s na­tion­als in Jan­uary.

“Be­ing so new and young to the sport, time on the bike is re­ally im­por­tant,” says Greg.

Al­though he will be the youngest there, Jaden says winning is in his sights.

“It’ll prob­a­bly be the most com­pet­i­tive na­tion­als in a while. But I be­lieve we have the pack­age to go for the win.”

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Fast track: Jaden Has­san is rid­ing his way to the top.

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