Sparks fly in the Team Kneebone pits but it is nothing to be concerned about … it’s just typically good-natured banter between brother and sister.
The real firestorm doesn’t ignite until the Yamaha duo from Matamata get out on the race track.
The Kneebone siblings, 17-year-old Kelly and 15-year-old Jacob, have been blazing motocross trails in New Zealand for several seasons now and each of them enjoy more than their fair share of success. But when the family debate arises over who is the faster rider, that’s when things really get heated.
They each have plenty of reason to demand the spotlight, even though both Jacob, a fifth former at Matamata College, and Kelly, a pool lifeguard in Matamata, have been racing motocross just four years now.
Jacob won the 13-16 years’ junior 85cc title at the recent North Island Motocross Championships in Taranaki.
He nearly compounded his result when he was running in second place in the senior 125cc class that weekend too, until an unfortunate spill put paid to that title bid.
“I just needed to stay on the bike but I hit a big hole and don’t remember much after that,” he laughed.
Jacob will race his 2010-model Yamaha YZ125 in the under-21 class at the upcoming senior nationals and then prepare himself for another tilt at a national title at the New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships in April.
Also a perpetual front-runner, his sister Kelly finished runner-up in the women’s open class at the North Island Motocross Championships in May and also finished runner-up at the women’s class at the Taranaki Motocross Championships just last weekend.
But who is the best between them? What happens when they practise or train together? Surely that settles the argument?
“Oh yes … Jacob’s actually faster than me,” Kelly finally admits, smiling as she pours cold water on the smouldering embers of the friendly debate.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com