All legends in their own right, Ben Townley, Katherine Oberlin-Brown (nee Prumm), Rodger Freeth and Aaron Slight will be recognised for their achievements in motorcycle racing at Motorcycling New Zealand’s annual meeting in Wellington.
Yesterday we took a close look at the respective racing careers of Townley and Freeth and today we turn our attention to Slight and Oberlin-Brown.
Katherine Oberlin-Brown (nee Prumm) was born in South Africa and moved to NZ in 1995 at the age of seven. Motocross was a huge part of the Prumm family life – her brother Mathew was an accomplished racer too – and Katherine enjoyed competing against the men on an equal footing.
Many remember the day at the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville where she took two holeshots out of three starts in the MX2 class. She moved to Europe where she won two Women’s World Cup titles for Kawasaki in 2006 and 2007.
At age 18, Katherine was at the top of the world in women’s motocross.
Her 2008 championship campaign ended with a collarbone injury but she was looking good to come back in 2009 before a training crash saw her break her back in three places, ending her motocross career.
Katherine is married to Graham and still involved in elite sport, working as a physiologist for High Performance Sport New Zealand.
Wairarapa’s Aaron Slight is among New Zealand’s most successful of international motorcycle road racers, with 229 World Championship starts, 13 World Superbike wins and 87 WSBK podium finishes throughout the 1990’s.
He also took a Kawasaki ZXR 750R to win the Australian Superbike Championships in 1991.
Recovering from a major brain surgery in his final year in WSBK in 2000 and returning to the track after just three months defied all doctor’s expectations.
Aaron only competed in the 2000 series from round seven onwards, although he still finished his final year in the World Championship in 8th place.
Aaron went on to race British touring cars with some success before returning home to Masterton where he manages various property and business interests.
The induction ceremony for Freeth, Townley, Oberlin-Brown and Slight will take place at the 2019 MNZ Annual General Meeting dinner this Saturday night.
Words by Ian Dawson
Photos by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
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