With just two weeks of training under my belt I lined up for this years Battle of the Clubs for my first race in what seems like forever. The main goal was just to stay out of trouble, so that meant the pressure was on to get a good start and rely on good riding technique to get me through. Not only did I survive, but our team also came away with the overall win!
Being from Tauranga you would be justified in asking why I was racing for the Pukekohe MCC. The truth is that they were the only ones to ask, but it was also a nice way to cap off a year that saw us becoming quite close to them in other ways after the loss of our mutual friend Nick Adams. Cody Cooper also stepped in to support the club, and what an event it turned out to be.
These are the glory days. 30 clubs entered the main event, with three junior and three senior riders in each club. That is a lot of riders, and the atmosphere was buzzing. Then there was also the mini track with a replica battle of the clubs happening for the young ones. I really felt for the Taranaki MCC, who saw their mini riders take out that title, while their main track team failed to qualify. It did make for some awesome racing in the B group though, with Daryl Hurley, Ben Townley and Tyler Steiner really going at it, as you can see in the story by bikesportnz.
It was those young ones that really made the whole thing so special, because while I have coached so many, almost none of them had actually seen me ride in anger, let alone race. Some of them were already coming up to me after practice and my qualifying race with obvious excitement in their body language, which went up another level again after I led the MX2/Vets race for a lap. Comments like, “I didn’t realise Broxy was fast” were apparently common.
Above all, the whole event was like an epic reunion with so many riders returning out of the woodwork either to race or support their kids who are now the next generation. Not only that but the track conditions were absolutely perfect. A huge shout out goes to the Taupo club for putting on something truly special. Our whole team was buzzing as we took photos on the finish line, and rightly so, right down to Reuben Smith who bravely took on the job of racing the big boys on his 85.