Veteran reaps rewards

By Jared Smith

Passion pays off with two more national titles Ask 25-year classic motorcycle race veteran Colin Tate how much coin he's invested in his passion over the years and he sheepishly says he never counted.

But the rewards are certainly there as the Wanganui rider collected two more national titles at Manfeild over the weekend.

Tate, who has cared for his beloved British Norton motorcycles since the age of 17, rode his Dominator 750cc to pick up his tenth Open Modified Class series championship for pre-1963 bikes.

On his Norton Manx 500cc, Tate brought home his third 500cc title to add to the kitty.

"To get them both together, I suppose, is pretty good," Tate said in his shed yesterday, beside the original Norton road bike he bought straight out of school.

The New Zealand Classic Motorcycle Register (NZCMR) is a series of five rounds from February to November, starting with the festival in Pukekohe which attracts up to 450 riders.

Other rounds are held in Taupo and Hampton Downs, with collective points deciding the championships.

While the classic motorcycles were the Grand Prix crotch-rockets of their day, one would think in today's scene that owners would race somewhat conservatively on their pride and joy.

Not so, says Tate, who had a few crashes among his wins.

"It's probably just as aggressive as the modern stuff. Most of them are very competitive."

He shows no signs of slowing down in the sport where he started in BEARS Racing, even as replicas are slowly replacing the originals in certain classes.

"You do get some parts [new], but they're all to the original specs ... Classic racing sort of developed [for me] it just grew and grew."

Tate also rode in the NZCMR series for Suzuki post-classic class, not to mention the Australian events, Paeroa Street Circuit and Invercargill's Burt Munro Challenge in recent times.

He is now looking forward to the return of the Classic Class at the 60th Suzuki Tri-Series around Wanganui's Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day.

While registrations are hovering around the 20 mark, the classics should still prove a popular sight for fans on the day.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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