The next time you’re heading out for a ride on your dirt bike, spare a thought for the Andrews family from Gisborne.
When the starting point of any journey is Gisborne and the nearest big event might be several hours’ drive away, it can be quite a mission to construct a viable national championship campaign, but that’s just what Yamaha racer Troy Andrews and his family undertakes to do every couple of weeks.
The majority of the competitions he enters are located in the Central North Island and so that’s perhaps not too much of a stretch, but it’s at least three hours for the crew just to reach Napier, a starting off point for most of his fellow Hawke’s Bay racers.
Because 15-year-old Andrews, and sometimes his dad, Ashley, choose to tackle so many of the national cross-country, motocross and enduro championship events, it means they need to be extremely dedicated.
“There is lots happening in our area, sometimes as many as 22 dirt bike events a year just in Gisborne, but for me to tackle the major, national events, it means we have to make a major effort.
“It means getting up pretty early to make these trips, although I often get to sleep during most trips, while dad drives, and that means I can be fairly fresh to race,” said Andrews, a year 11 pupil at Gisborne Boys’ High School.
“Any time I can spend on my Yamaha is a good time,” he said.
Andrews finished 10th overall in the cross-country nationals last season and he was sixth overall in his junior under-200cc two-stroke class.
He also finished seventh overall in the 12-14 years’ 125cc class at the junior motocross nationals in Hawke’s Bay last year.
It’s fair to say also that the Andrews family is just one of many within the dirt bike community who travel far and wide to indulge in their passion for the sport.
Mitchell Weir (Yamaha YZ85) and his parents travel up from Tokanui, near Invercargill, to contest many events in the North Island and the next big trip for them will be to journey to Taranaki for the annual New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships near New Plymouth in just over a week’s time.
Weir is the national champion in the junior 8-10 years’ 85cc class, but now he steps up to contest the 11-12 years’ 85cc class.
This sort of commitment is what typifies the motorcycling world and helps engender the strong sense of being part of an extended family, all of which is experienced at so many dirt bike events.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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