A Hawke's Bay speedway rider has gone public with a bid to get his career back on track after the theft of $30,000 of bikes in Auckland at the weekend.
Michael Patey, 27, of Flaxmere, had been in Auckland just a few hours when thieves backed a vehicle on to his sister's property in the West Auckland suburb of Massey, hitched-up his trailer and drove off with the bikes about 12.30am on Saturday.
It took less than 10 minutes, but more than 48 hours later the trailer and bikes were still missing.
The enclosed trailer has silver-rimmed wheels, stickers from Stuha speedway frames and team Kawasaki, and the registration number 7Y678, and was heavily padlocked.
Custom-made by father and former speedway rider Ian Patey and including an engine from a bike once raced by late New Zealand speedway legend and record six-times world champion Ivan Mauger, the machines would have been raced in the Avondale solo-bikes Summer Cup on Saturday afternoon.
Now he has just a spare frame and a wheel with which to start his preparation for the New Zealand Speedway GP next month at Rosebank, Auckland.
Having travelled to Auckland to compete many times in the 12 years since he started speedway racing while a 14-year-old at Hastings Boys' High School, and with successes including the 2017 King of Rosebank title, he said at the weekend his racing days were over if the machines were not found.
On Monday a Givealittle page was started by a supporter to try to help get him going again.
"I'm just blown away," he said back in Hastings today, arriving home about 2am, having to take the day off work and "absolutely shattered", but buoyed by the support and messages as people in and out of the fraternity try to help find the bikes.
The theft was recorded on CCTV security surveillance. It involved everything he has to race, including helmets, tools, and even his racing licence and methanol racing fuel.
"I can't afford to replace it, neither can my parents that have funded my sport since day one. I want my stuff back."
At least three people are believed to have been involved in the theft, which happened while five adults and two children were in his sister's house on the property.