Jaden at front of the pack

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

His age and his height might be work­ing against him, but Jaden Has­san is quickly racing to the front of the coun­try’s mo­tor sport pack.

The 14-year-old says he was rapt to gain third place over­all in the Na­tional Su­per­bike Cham­pi­onships which ended last month.

As the youngest rider in the 125cc com­pe­ti­tion by two years, Jaden says third place is as good as he could hope for.

“I thought go­ing into it that if I could get a place in my rookie sea­son that would be pretty good,” he says.

The com­pe­ti­tion was held over five rounds with races at Tere­tonga race­track in In­ver­cargill, mov­ing up through Ti­maru, Christchurch and Man­feild and fin­ish­ing up at Pukekohe Race­way on March 8.

Jaden says the first chal­lenge was his first race in In­ver­cargill, on a track he had only rid­den once be­fore.

“I’d only been down there once but I re­ally like the track so I picked it up pretty fast.”

De­spite be­ing new to the track, he took sec­ond, third and fourth places in his early races and con­tin­ued to stay near the front of the pack. A crash in the qual­i­fy­ing round also left him with a painful, pos­si­bly bro­ken, foot but Jaden says he never con­sid­ered quit­ting.

“When you’re out there and the adrenalin’s go­ing, you don’t re­ally no­tice it too bad.”

He is no stranger to rid­ing through in­juries, and won the North Is­land win­ter se­ries last year with a bro­ken an­kle.

At 1.8 me­tres tall, Jaden says he has a def­i­nite dis­ad­van­tage rid­ing on the smaller 125cc bikes com­pared to the other rid­ers who are closer to 1.5 me­tres tall.

He felt the pinch dur­ing the sec­ond round, find­ing it hard to get comfortable on the track at Ti­maru and only gain­ing third place in one of the races.

“The sec­ond round wasn’t so good. I couldn’t quite get comfortable enough to move around on the bike.”

But by the time he reached Auck­land again, he was back on form, winning his sec­ond race and gain­ing sec­ond and third in the oth­ers.

The West­ern Springs Col­lege stu­dent is philo­soph­i­cal about go­ing too far too fast and says he plans to stick with his bike for an­other year.

“It will be cramped but I don’t see the point in mov­ing to a big­ger bike when I’m still learn­ing.”

He’s hop­ing to de­fend his ti­tle at this year’s win­ter se­ries com­pe­ti­tion.

Photo: AN­DREW BRIGHT

Great re­sult: Jaden Has­san at the Man­feild race of the Na­tional Su­per­bike Cham­pi­onships.

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