Rising star of racing
As a general rule, putting a 12-year-old behind the wheel of a 1200cc Volkswagen offroad vehicle isn’t usually the best idea.
But Josh Hoyland proving the exception.
The Walton youngster has been carving out a reputation in the New Zealand offroad racing community, with his latest impressive finish coming at the Offroad Association of New Zealand 160km endurance race at Manukau over Labour Weekend.
The 12-year-old finished 21st out of 23 finishers in a race which saw 17 others fail to complete.
Josh was six years younger than the next youngest driver and took out the class seven division featuring beginners.
‘‘ It was a pretty long day,’’ said Josh, who fin-
is ished the race on only three cylinders.
‘‘ The course was rocky, grassy and dusty and by the end I was pretty tired.’’
The finish comes after he was crowned the 2010 New Zealand class seven shortcourse champ earlier this year and the overall Waikato Offroad Club division winner in 2009.
His abilities have caught the eye of not just other drivers but sponsors as well, with the Hoyland vehicle adorned with signage.
Josh, a year 8 at Matamata Intermediate, also enjoys playing softball and squash but comes from racing stock. He remembers dad Chris buying a single seat offroader when he was much younger ‘‘but Mum crashed it’’.
then bought a double-seater offroader, which Josh first rode in when he was 6. The youngster took the wheel when he was 11 – it was inevitable after he ‘‘ kept telling Mum what to do and how to do it’’.
Debbie Hoyland described her son as a ‘‘very confident driver’’ and felt his experience would make him safer behind the wheel when the time comes to get his driving licence.
‘‘Teaching him to drive was really quite easy, it’s like he knew how it all went already, ’’ she said. ‘‘He’s going to know the right way to drive before he gets out on the road when he’s older.’’
Any animosity from the older drivers over Josh’s skills? ‘‘ A little bit,’’ he says. ‘‘They’re probably a little bit jealous.’’
Walton schoolboy Josh Hoyland is making a mark in the sport of offroad racing.