Auckland’s Daniel Mettam has been making waves in New Zealand all season and now he’s going to have the chance to send out a few ripples overseas as well.
The Glen Eden 14-year-old is the latest in a line of talented Kiwis who have been invited in recent years to try out for the high-profile Red Bull Rookies competition in Europe, a ‘nursery’ class to groom future MotoGP and Superbike World Championship stars.
Mettam has been riding a Kawasaki KR150 in the streetstock class in New Zealand for the past six months, racing under the Taupo-based Wolf Pack Racing colours, and he has used this bike to set lap records at the new Hampton Downs circuit near Meremere and also at the Taupo race track this year.
The Kawasaki ace has now been selected to attend a two-day trial in Spain in three weeks’ time, at the Monte Blanco circuit near Sevilla, in the south of the country.
“We have only just received confirmation of this four days ago,” said Daniel’s father, Glenn.
“The successful riders at this trial will be chosen to ride in Europe in 2011 in the Red Bull Rookies Cup – for 13 to 17 year-olds — as the curtain raiser to the 10 European rounds of the MotoGP events.
“Daniel is pretty excited but doesn’t show it much. He’s a pretty cool character and takes things in his stride … but he definitely comes to life on a bike.”
The Mettams leave for Spain on September 8 and the trial is set for September 14-15.
“This is a massive opportunity for a Kiwi kid and, as a family, we are very excited for him and, no matter what, we know he will go there and give it his best attempt.
“He has worked so hard in this sport over the past 15 months and was accepted as one of the final 40 riders on his overall application, chosen from hundreds and possibly thousands of others from around the world.
“In whittling down the applicants, a lot of significant attention was given to results over this year.”
Daniel Mettam’s rise through the ranks has been nothing short of sensational.
He finished last in his first ever race on tarseal, at the Taupo track in May last year. By October of the same year he won both races ahead of the same field of about 20 riders at the final round of the Victoria Motorcycle Club’s Winter Series at Manfeild – going from zero to hero in just five months.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com