Dan­nevirke rider takes sec­ond spot

Bush Telegraph - - Trades And Services Directory - By ANDY MCGECHAN www.Bike­sportNZ.com

Per­haps there is noth­ing better than a good rider, a great bike, a huge dol­lop of de­ter­mi­na­tion and some care­ful coaching by one of New Zealand’s dirt bik­ing elite.

These el­e­ments all came to­gether at the week­end to earn Dan­nevirke teenager Ben Pater­son the No.2 spot in his class at the week­end’s Yamaha Taiko­rea 500, the sec­ond round of six in the Moto SR-spon­sored NZXC cross-coun­try se­ries.

The 16 year old, a year 12 pupil at Napier Boys’ High School, re­cently grad­u­ated from the in­au­gu­ral Paul Whi­b­ley Rac­ing (PWR) academy and he ar­rived at Whi­b­ley’s own Taiko­rea Mo­tor­cy­cle Park, near Hi­matangi, for Sun­day’s race keen to col­lect his new Yamaha WR250F — pur­chased through the PWR Yamaha Demo Pro­gramme — and get straight into the thick of the ac­tion on the pris­tine track.

How­ever, with no time to com­plete set-up work on the bike, he lined up for the gru­elling twohour se­nior race with his bike still in road trim — sport­ing head­light, tail-light, blink­ers, num­ber plate mount, side-stand and horn — an odd sight with all the other rac­ers lined up on trimmed-down, race-ready ma­chin­ery.

It didn’t seem to mat­ter to Pater­son, though, who was quick at get­ting to grips with the brand new bike and equally adept at deal­ing with the treach­er­ous sand, steep hills and tree roots, even­tu­ally set­tling for a brave 17th over­all.

The race was won out­right by Ti­ti­rangi rider Cal­lan May (Yamaha YZ250F), an­other rider who has ben­e­fited re­cently from Whi­b­ley’s coaching.

Sig­nif­i­cantly though, Pater­son had done enough to fin­ish sec­ond over­all in his in­ter­me­di­ate four-stroke class, be­hind Mart­in­bor­ough’s James Pur­die (Yamaha YZ450F).

“I pur­chased the bike through the PWR academy, but was only able to pick it up on Sun­day and didn’t have time to con­vert it for rac­ing. Also, I had not been rac­ing at all be­cause I didn’t have a bike, so my prepa­ra­tion for this race wasn’t the best,” said Pater­son.

“It was nice to ride and I felt good on it straight away.

“It was quite funny in the race ac­tu­ally, be­cause I tooted the bike’s horn as I launched off jumps at Taiko­rea . . . just some­thing to bring a smile to the face of spec­ta­tors,” he laughed.

“This bike is al­most ex­actly the same as a YZ250F, ex­cept it comes with blink­ers and such on it, so I knew I could do well on it.

“I’ve been rac­ing for about five years now and get­ting faster all the time, but my stint in the PWR academy has made the big­gest dif­fer­ence for me. It was six months of hard work, quite bru­tal re­ally, but it’s made me a much better rider.”

For­mer Kiwi in­ter­na­tional Paul Whi­b­ley had groomed the track to per­fec­tion and he was track­side on Sun­day, ob­serv­ing the form of Pater­son, among oth­ers, as he con­sid­ered fresh coaching points for fu­ture PWR academy ses­sions.

The pop­u­lar NZXC Se­ries, now in its fourth sea­son, was the brain­child of Whi­b­ley, who cre­ated the com­pe­ti­tion to better pre­pare New Zealand rid­ers for rac­ing in ma­jor cross-coun­try events over­seas, and it seems to be work­ing with sev­eral Kiwi rid­ers now mak­ing waves in the United States and Europe.

The 40-year-old from Pahiatua, af­fec­tion­ately dubbed “The Ax­e­man” on the motorcycling scene, was a twotime out­right win­ner of the Grand Na­tional Cross­coun­try Cham­pi­onships (GNCC) in the United States (in 2009 and 2012) and a record six-time win­ner of the par­al­lel Off-Road Mo­tor­cy­cle and ATV (OMA) se­ries there as well.

He was also New Zealand cross-coun­try cham­pion in 2015 and now ded­i­cates much of his time coaching and ad­vis­ing as­pir­ing cham­pi­ons, as well as run­ning the NZXC Se­ries.

PHOTO / ANDY McGECHAN, Bike­sportNZ.com

DAN­NEVIRKE’S Ben Pater­son (Yamaha WR250F), pow­er­ing through the sand at Taiko­rea on Sun­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.