My first real taste of the glory of supercross came as a sixteen year old passing Josh Coppins for the lead at the Tokoroa track in 1998. We still have the television coverage to prove it. My lead was only to last for two corners but it was such a huge buzz in front of the large crowd that I will never forget it- I was hooked.
It has been around ten years since I have done a full supercross season and there was no way I was planning on changing that this year with a crazy busy month of January on the cards! At 9am on the morning of round 2 at Taupo I had one last make or break chance to race the nationals or not- and before I knew it I was off to go racing.
The experience of Supercross was just as good as what I remember. The buzz of tight racing. The nerves before a big final. The roar of the crowd when some real action happens. Just clearing that massive triple at Motueka is a thrill every time while making it cleanly through the stutters at Taupo was satisfaction mixed with a sprinkle of relief.
There was two things I was lacking through the whole series- aggressive speed and good starts. Through consistency I was given a few podiums but wasn’t willing to hang it out enough to get the really fast lap times and race wins.
Frustrating? Yes it was, especially at the last round in Timaru where I couldn’t get myself to lay down the speed to earn second place overall, Nick Saunders deservedly took that ball and ran with it. Outstanding performer was Craig Smith with awesome starts and speed, putting in a very fast two or three laps then able to just do what he had to in order to win.
Highlights? Getting a mad roar from the crowd for the tricks I pulled in the whip comp, showing their appreciation for the slow wheelies, donuts and old school freestyle tricks even though the only whip I did was with both legs to one side of the bike while doing a nac nac.
Get into it!
Something everyone found disappointing was the lack of riders in the fields. Supercross does see its fair share of people hurt but that is mostly only through a lack of preparation. The pluses of supercross definitely make it worth while to put in a lot of training so I hope we can help that to happen.
With the last minute nature of the whole thing I was forced to ask for many favours including the Donnelly family for helping me down to Motueka, Dan and Deb Batchelor for their wonderful hospitality and behind the scenes work making the Timaru races happen, Johnny and Michael Phillips for their huge hand and especially the whole crew at Botany Honda for working with me in making it all work. I hope the 3rd overall helps make it worth while and that I can do the same for you all in the near future!