I wouldn’t want to call it being biased, but I must admit to having a soft spot for those who started riding bikes at a later age- if only because that is how I started out. It used to be strangely satisfying to see the surprised look on someone’s face when I told them I had only been riding for a year or two. This month our feature rider is definitely in that camp, racing the 14-16yr 250cc class with only two years of experience. His name is Daniel Bell.
He first came onto my radar at a training session we did at Flipps, partly for the speed that he showed, but more for something else that made him stand out- he seemed absolutely driven to better himself. That first session was a hard one for him, but it was obvious that he was listening to what I had to say and giving 100% effort trying to do it.
Because of this I suggested he would be best doing a camp or two with us. Sure enough, he joined us for two of them soon after. By now he was sussing out the skills, with his style looking much the better for it.
However it wasn’t until the last camp we did before the Junior Nationals that I was really blown away. He was giving my assistant coaches a really hard time on the track- in a good way. During the free times they would have an unofficial race and you could have thrown a blanket over them, with Daniel having the fitness to last longer than them both.
He also had good help in the form of Daniel Sinclair, who, being a good rider himself, was going to help Daniel at the Nationals. With the combination of speed, technique and good help, possibly the only question was how the relatively few years he had been racing would see him handle the big event.
He started by proving himself as a front runner, finishing day 1 with 5th and 6th place finishes. The size of the event didn’t seem to be worrying him and things were looking good for the overall. Unfortunately a mechanical issue in the first race of day two saw him fall back in the standings, ending the weekend 9th overall. Still very much a result to be proud of, it is a great way to set up for a promising future.
I have no doubt that Daniel will continue pushing and moving up the ranks through his junior career, and onwards as he turns senior. We will continue to help where possible and cheer him on as the kind of underdog our country likes to support.