Taranaki’s Nicki Smith is a living example to make true the old axiom ‘winners don’t quit and quitters don’t win’.
The 32-year-old Kawasaki racer has had plenty of reasons to hang up her helmet, but still she perseveres and now she’s now poised to earn a podium spot in the Victoria Motorcycle Club’s popular Actrix Winter Series.
At the fourth round of six at Manfeild on Sunday, Smith managed 4-2-3 results in her three Pro Twins class races, enough to keep her fourth in the series standings, despite the fact she missed the opening round of the competition.
Significantly, however, those results on Sunday also enabled her to close in on the man ranked third in the series, Rotorua’s Corey Mudge (Suzuki). She has clawed her way from 21 points behind Mudge to now be just six points adrift with two rounds remaining in the series.
That she is racing at all is quite amazing.
Smith crashed heavily at Manfeild in June 2009, an accident that was a scary as it was painful and debilitating.
“I got run over and broke my pelvis. I remember seeing it all happen in front of me. I saw the other rider coming towards me while I lay on the ground”, said Smith, a supply chain co-ordinator for Fonterra, based in Eltham.
In the time since that accident, she’s not only returned to the race track, but she has stepped up from a 400cc bike to a 650cc ER6 Kawasaki.
“It’s heavier and more powerful,” said the Kiwibike Insurance and Future Graphics and Comfort Air Taranaki-sponsored rider. “But I just love riding it.”
With two rounds remaining in the winter series, Smith is well placed to achieve a top-three overall finish and her rivals must now respect that she’s a very determined and focussed individual.
Round five is set for Manfeild on September 24, with the sixth and final round due at Taupo on October 29.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com