It probably comes as no surprise that security is a very big deal to Canterbury Armourguard dispatcher Eric Oliver-Maxwell.
And if the 18-year-old Christchurch man knows anything, it’s that he’s safe and secure in the knowledge he will be a contender again, perhaps even to lock away the main prize, when next season’s New Zealand Superbike Championships kick off.
His rookie ride in the 600cc superststock class this season finished with him standing on the podium – he wound up the season third overall behind fellow Yamaha riders Midge Smart, of Inglewood, and Jaden Hassan, of Auckland.
Oliver-Maxwell is obviously on a rapid rise to stardom — he finished fourth overall in the 125GP class last year.
“I only picked up this bike (a Yamaha R6) in September, so I have had to learn things quickly. It has been a steep learning curve for me but I’ve done okay,” he shrugged.
“This year on the 600 I have had to learn to rail around the corners and not try the point-and-squirt approach of 125cc racing. It has been a lot of fun.”
The five-round championship series kicked off in January and has just recently wrapped up a Manfeild, near Palmerston North.
“It was a crash-damaged bike. It was written off and we virtually had to rebuild it from scratch. It’s a poor man’s version of a race bike but, with help from (fellow Christchurch racer) John Ross, we managed to be competitive. That Yamaha is a great bike and, even without modifications, it can win races.”
Oliver-Maxwell hopes he can continue his climb up the national rankings in this class next season too, “but that depends upon budget”.
“If I can scratch up a few more dollars, then I will be aiming to move up another couple of spots in the standings.”
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com