Nor West News : February 5th 2015
Paddlers compete at nationals Waka ama paddlers from the nor-west are notching up vital experience after competing at the 2015 ActivePost Waka Ama Sprint Nationals. The Tu Tangi Ora-South Kaipara Collective members enjoyed being amid the top action at Lake Karapiro. Coach Israil Foreman, who is also director of sport at Kaipara College, says the girls had a great nationals. Keegan Cooper was ninth in the under-16 girls singles – narrowly missing out on the final by one place – while Carissa Mansell-Sawyers was 14th in the under-19 girls singles. In the team events, the girls progressed through their heat to qualify for the semifinals in the 1000m and 500m. ‘‘They did particularly well in the 1000m in their semi, placing second and qualifying for the final with the third-fastest time. Unfortunately pressure and a lack of experience resulted in the girls finishing sixth. The same could be said about their 500m, eventually finishing seventh in the final,’’ Foreman says. Neighbouring West Auck- land paddlers dominated the junior men’s waka ama. The Waitakere Outrigger Canoe Club’s under-19 boys won gold in the double hull 500m and six-man 500m. The club has now won these events two years in a row. ‘‘It’s the first time, I think, in the history of waka ama,’’ president and coach ‘‘Papa’’ Maori Tere says. But Waitakere’s winning streak didn’t stop there. Its under-16 six-man crew took out the 1000m and in singles results, Zane Abraham won the under-16 500m and Tere’s son, Maori Cava Tere, won the under-19 500m sprint and 250m dash. Almost 3000 paddlers from 61 New Zealand clubs competed as well as guest paddlers from Australia and Papua New Guinea. A record 11,000 spectators turned out to see teams compete for national honours in one, six and 12-paddler teams in under-16, under-19, open, master and senior master age divisions. Waka Ama New Zealand chief executive Lara Collins says the calibre of paddlers seems to get better each year. ‘‘The adrenaline was pumping on and off the water as paddlers fought for those top placings,’’ she says. ‘‘The weather was brilliant and the calm conditions made for some fantastic racing and fast times.’’ Paddle power: Tu Tangi Ora-South Kaipara Collective members compete at the Lake Karapiro sprint nationals in the J19 women’s section of theW61000 heat two. The paddlers from Ah None Of That are Anna Lawton, Carissa Mansell-Sawyers, Keegan Cooper, Sativa TarauPehikuru, Sophie Fisher and Tara Mansell-Sawyers. West rider flying high Ethan Martens is a former national motocross champion and he wants to remove the word ‘‘former’’ from any description of him in the future. With that being the case, the 23-year-old racer from Waitakere is heading in the right direction. Martens finished the day outright winner on a 450cc bike in the premier MX1 Getting air: Ethan Martens of Waitakere on his Yamaha YZ450F takes out the premier MX1class at the annual Valley Motocross Championships. Photo: ANDY MCGECHAN/ BIKESPORTNZ.COM Hours of practice pay off for persistent motocross rider By FELICITY REID Perseverance is paying off for Jack Saunders. The North Harbour Mini Motocross member has had his most successful season on the bike yet, winning North Island and Auckland titles. His club has no fixed home ground and makes use of farms and natural terrain in Waimauku, South Head and Kaukapakapa for events. Riding since he was 4 years old, Jack hasn’t always been in the winner’s circle. Peter Saunders says his 9-year-old son’s recent suc- cess in the 7-11 trail class comes from the sheer amount of time spent in the seat and an increased confidence on the track. The numbers of competi- tive mini motocross riders are dwindling across the country but as Saunders points out, someone still has to win. ‘‘There are half the numbers of riders that there were two to three years ago but racing is close,’’ he says. The North Harbour club caters for riders from the age of 4 to 12 in trail classes and motocross in 50cc and 65cc classes. Club members don’t have to be competitive because club meetings are often casual outings that involve ‘‘a cruise around the paddocks’’, Saunders says. Jack’s winning ways are unlikely to be repeated again next season, Saunders says, because a move to a bigger bike and more challenging tracks will test his skills against older riders. The next big race for the motocross club is the King of the North hosted by the Harbour club on March 29. ❚ Go to northharbourmini motocross.co.nz for more. Improving: The more time North Harbour Mini Motocross member Jack Saunders spends on his bike the better he gets. class at the annual Valley Motocross Championships at Patetonga on January 11. He actually shared first place with his more senior team-mate from Queenstown, Scott Columb, but Martens got the nod for overall honours courtesy of the ‘‘count-back rule’’ – Martens finishing higher in the final race of the day. He registered a score-card of 2-1-2-1 over the four races, while Columb finished 1-2-1-2. ‘‘I’m taking every oppor- tunity at the moment to ride and this event is another in my buildup for the nationals,’’ Martens says. The four-round New Zea- land Motocross Championships kick off in Taranaki on February 8 and that’s when he wants to be at his absolute best. ‘‘I’m not quite where I want to be in terms of speed and fitness, but I’m getting there. There is still a little bit of work needed.’’ Martens spent a lot of time last year changing his riding style to suit a 450cc bike. ‘‘You can’t ride one of these bikes like a lunatic, you’ve got to be smooth.’’ He was a double national junior champion in 2008, winning the 250cc title for 14 to 16-year-olds and 125cc title for 15 to 16-year-olds. Go to nor-westnews.co.nz and click on Latest Edition to see action behind the scenes and during the 2015 ActivePost WakaAmaSprint Nationals.
January 29th 2015
February 12th 2015