Ris­ing star of rac­ing

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

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’’.

The Hoy­lands

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.

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