Motocross: Bay pair set for bright future on two wheels

By Shane Hurndell

Haumoana youngster Vincent Andersson remembers his introduction to motocross well.

"It was back in 2008. My dad [Peter] and two brothers [Zakarias and Mika] went along to the Hawke's Bay Motorcycle Club's Valley Rd track to watch a meeting. One of my brothers got bored and asked dad to take us home but I got hooked on the sport and have stuck with it ever since."

That addiction is paying off for Andersson. Along with fellow 11-year-old, Shannon Blake of Greenmeadows, Andersson, did the best of the Hawke's Bay riders at the country's most prestigious meetings - the Woodville-hosted New Zealand Grand Prix last weekend.

The Havelock North Intermediate School Year 7 student finished second in the 9-11 years 65cc class which had 33 entries.

He finished second in all three of his races to regular rival and fellow AFC Motorcyles Palmerston North-sponsored rider Zac Jillings of Manawatu.

"Zac was born for 65cc class racing. Trying to keep up with him has been my aim for most of my racing career," Andersson said.

After failing to qualify for the Grand Prix and riding in support classes at the Grand Prix last year Andersson was thrilled with his success last weekend as he had set a podium finish as his goal. He was the sixth fastest qualifier.

"It was definitely one of my better events," Andersson, who raced in 45 events around the North Island last year, said.

In the first race Jillings got the holeshot with Andersson in second place. While Jillings pulled away from Andersson the Bay rider had a 10 second lead over the third place rider at the finish.

Andersson was fourth at the first corner in his second race but a lap later was back in second where he remained until the finish. Realising Jillings was going to be hard to beat, consolidating second place overall was his main focus in his last race and this was achieved with another second.

An all rounder at soccer and handy cyclist and triathlete, he is thrilled with the progress he has made in motocross. That "worst day of my career" at Woodville last year has been replaced by finals in every event since.

When asked what the secret to his improvement was Andersson, who will move up to the 85cc junior ranks at his next outing, wasted little time in replying.

"I am now good at starts and get holeshots at most meetings."

His long-term goal is to be a better professional rider than his idol Ben Townley.

Taradale Intermediate School's Blake won the 7-11 years trial class in Woodville. The "veteran" of four years in the sport won all three of her races which had six riders to better her 2012 third placing.

One of Blake's main goals at Woodville was to do better than her older brother Cole who tackled two classes and managed an eighth in one of them.

The siblings are mentored by their father Scott who used to race but these days focuses on training rides with his children.

"Dad likes coaching me better. He knows he only needs to tell me things once ... I'm a typical girl," Blake joked.

"While I'm a good listener having no fear is another of my strengths," she said.

Blake has one more nationals on the small sized track before moving up to the bigger track.

With a background in swimming, soccer and rippa rugby she boasts all the physical attributes to continue to record podium finishes in what is now her No.1 sport.

American Eli Tomac and Otago's United States-based rider Courtney Duncan are her idols.

As long as motocross remains her favourite hobby, and Blake continues to listen to her father, she could end up following Duncan and making a name for herself internationally.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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