It was another proud occasion for motorcycling last week when Auckland motocross ace Ethan Martens was named Waitakere Junior Sportsman of the Year.
At a black tie function inside the Trust Stadium, Waitakere, the achievements of 18-year-old Martens were recognised and loudly celebrated by the community.
The 2009 national under-21 motocross champion beat off challenges in the finalists’ section from top sportsmen in the various codes of football, badminton, weightlifting, surfing and squash to take the region’s main prize for junior athletes.
The MXDK Rockstar Yamaha MX Team rider said it was a “huge surprise and great honour” to be chosen.
“I knew I’d been nominated but I never thought I’d win. But it was great to win, particularly because I was up against some hugely talented sportsmen,” said a magnanimous Martens.
“The judges said my achievements ‘simply stood out off the page’. Mum was in tears … it was a pretty emotional moment.”
Marten had already won both main classes at the 2008 New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships, taking the titles in both the 15-16 years’ 125cc class and 14-16 years’ 250cc class and his winning the Junior Sportsman of the Year crown in 2010 perhaps seemed an overdue and very worthy award.
In his acceptance speech, Martens made special mention of his parents, Jane and Anton, who he said had given up so much so that he could achieve on the race track.
The suit and tie has now been packed away – perhaps for another awards nights in the future – as Martens now prepares for the tough senior national championships.
He will race a Yamaha YZ250F in the upcoming supercross nationals and then switch to a Yamaha YZ125 two-stroke for the annual Whakatane Summercross in December, the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville in January and the New Zealand Motocross Championships, starting in February.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com