Could Taupo teenager Cohen Chase be the next big thing in the road-racing world?
It’s certainly a question that he intends to answer in the affirmative.
The young Bay of Plenty man has already made a name for himself in motocross racing, he and his brother Wyatt Chase taking their YZ85 Yamahas to the front end of the field at almost every dirt bike event they care to enter, but Cohen is one rider who wants to sample something more.
The 13-year-old Cohen Chase was keen to jump codes and try his hand at road-racing.
And it was with very little experience that the year eight student at Taupo Intermediate turned up at Manfeild at the weekend to make his debut on tarmac, racing at the fourth round of six in the Victoria Motorcycle Club’s Actrix Winter Series.
“After only two hours’ of practice at the Taupo (road-race) track a month ago, I was a little nervous about my first race start at Manfeild on Sunday, as I hadn’t done a race start before,” said Chase.
“My mentors, Jamie Rajeck and Avalon Biddle from Wolf Pack Racing, suggested I start off the back of the field.
“I had a fantastic time – I started the weekend with lap times of 1m33s and, by the end of the race weekend, I had improved by 10 seconds – clocking a best time of 1m 23.762s.
“I had three races and started all three off the back grid but I passed four riders in each race.”
He eventually finished 3-3-2 in his three 125GP class races, an outstanding performance on debut.
“It’s quite different from motocross – the body position in particular, corning and, of course, the surface we race on.
“The riders were all talking about how cold the track was in the morning and that there might not be much grip out there … again very different from motocross, but I am looking forward to training in both disciplines.
“The people around the pits and track were very friendly and helping with advice for a first timer, especially Sloan Frost, who followed me round the track to give me some tips for later. He’s a former motocross rider, so was stoked to know I rode motocross and that I was giving road-racing a try.
“I will do it again … absolutely. It was awesome.
“I want to thank Wolf Pack Racing and Total Oil for giving me the opportunity, and for Avalon’s father, Keith Biddle, for getting my bike ready before each race.”
In the coming weeks he will switch his focus back to motocross and the Yamaha YZ85 as he crosses the Tasman to compete in the Australian Junior Motocross Championships in October, at Murray Bridge, Adelaide (Oct 1-9).
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com