Scooters compete at NZ National Champs in Napier

By ROGER MORONEY


Watching the continual arrival of hundreds of spectators at Saturday's New Zealand Scooter Championships at Sk8zone last Saturday was good reason for venue manager Pat McIvor to smile, but he couldn't resist a beaming grin after hearing what the kids from "the big cities" were telling him.

"The feedback was just great. These were kids from Auckland and Wellington and they were saying it was the best location, the best venue and the best set-up they had seen."

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But then several competitors from Palmerston North and even New Plymouth could have told them that as, despite the distance, they had become regulars at the Marine Parade venue.

It was the second national scooter championship hosted at Sk8zone, although Mr McIvor said the first event last year was on a small scale.

"It hadn't really taken off then - it was early days for scootering."

What a difference a year makes.

Some 75 competitors from all over the country including sponsored riders from the two big scooter teams MGP and Crisp took to the ramps and launching pads and half-pipes.

Mr McIvor, who made a name as one of the country's leading in-line skaters, thought he had seen pretty well every spectacular move devised by skaters, bladers, boarders and scooterists ... but no.

"Some of the tricks were amazing. I asked a couple of riders 'what was that you just did out there?"'

The top riders laid to rest any lingering beliefs from other areas of extreme sports that scootering was at a lower level.

"No way - it is right up there now," Mr McIvor said.

There were plenty of oohs and ahhs from the big crowd - and a couple of ouches from a few competitors who pushed beyond the boundary of their skills.

One of the senior class riders went out early ("I don't think he'd woken up properly") and performed an ambitious flip, but landed heavily and needed to sit things out for a while. But what's a few bruises - he was back into it again later.

The locals more than held their own.

In the youngest age group class of 10 and under the locals "completely took it out" and in the 13 and under class local riders grabbed second and third. In the older class, 14 and up, Havelock North scooter ace Darryl Steffensen finished second.

Mr McIvor said he was keen to stage another national championship next year.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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