Nor West News : February 9th 2012
www.nor-westnews.co.nz 16 NOR-WEST NEWS, FEBRUARY 9, 2012 SPORT For All Year Round CITY WATER DELIVERY McKean MOTORS & CONTRACTORS LTD Your local city water carrier for over 40 years For great personal service call 0800 2489 92 0800 CITY WATER or 416 8628 4025427AA Your septic tank should be cleaned every 3 years (average family of four) We service all areas Phone: 412 9210 or 0274 924 494 SEPTIC & WATER TANK CLEANING urnetts B 4318575AA Birch toughs it out to finish the Dakar Mission accomplished: Chris Birch makes the finish line of the Dakar Rally in Lima, Peru. Go to www.nor-westnews. co.nz to watch a review of the bike category in the 2012 Dakar Rally. Motorbike rider Chris Birch survived a crash which broke his ankle to complete the Dakar Rally. The Waimauku resident finished 27th out of 178 riders in the motorbike category when he crossed the finish line in Lima, Peru, on January 15. But there will be no rest for Birch. He is already pre- paring for his next race, the South African endurance champs in early March. I will be heading over to South Africa soon since I manage a team over there. I should only be limping around for two more weeks.'' Birch was stunned by the magnitude of the Dakar Rally. Coming into Peru was amazing. It took three secur- ity guards to get me into my hotel because of the crowds -- they just sort of picked me up while another pushed his way through the people.'' He broke his ankle on the penultimate stage. The 31-year-old enduro rider was trying to navigate his way through sand dunes when he dropped four metres. The fall left him with a gash on his head and two broken bones in his ankle. When I went to the medi- cal team to get stitches they asked about my foot so I just said I had sprained it five days earlier. Medical crews can with- draw any rider from the rally if they have broken bones. I got the ankle checked out when I came back to New Zealand and now have the cast which is annoying.'' He also had a serious crash with another rider on the third day of the 15-day rally. While Birch escaped un- harmed, his KTM motorbike did not. It was quite a big accident and I was all by myself in the middle of the desert trying to fix my bike until a teammate came along. The one scary moment was when the car category caught up. Those guys are lunatics andIhadtohidetogetoutof their way.'' Birch has yet to decide if he will race in the event next year. It is bloody dangerous and expensive so I will need to build a bigger budget if I want a top-10 finish. I'm going to give it a month so I can make a proper decision,'' he says. But yeah, I probably will have another go.'' Free youth day Free, fun activities for youth will be at the Rautawhiri skatepark in Helensville on Sunday. Itisrunbythe IN2IT Street Crew who brings games and sports equipment to parks to make it easier for youth to attend. It's to build relationships up with the community,'' Rod- ney Local Board mem- ber Brenda Steele says. Paget on the verge of an Olympic eventing spot Jumping Jock: Jonathan 'Jock' Paget on Clifton Pinot negotiates the water jump in the cross-country course at the Puhinui three-day event last May. Photo: PETER MEECHAM/FAIRFAX MEDIA By KERRY GALLAGHER It's an unlikely and precari- ous road to the Olympics for Jonathan Paget. The Muriwai Beach eques- trian was named in an elite eventing squad, effectively a shortlist for the 2012 Olympics. Selection would complete an unlikely rise in his sport for someone who did not even care when the Sydney Olympics were just down the road. From his base in England, Paget says one piece of bad luck could easily end the dream of riding in the London Games but it looks good so far. It is something that seemed unlikely in his days as a bricklayer in Australia. When working in Sydney during the 2000 Olympic Games, he wasn't even keen enough on eventing to watch. I'm gutted that I was not into it when the Sydney Olympics were on. I literally lived just 10 or 15 minutes up the road but I wasn't interested. If anything it was a little annoying with all the traffic.'' Paget was born in Wells- ford in 1983 but moved with his family to Australia in 1986. His parents were riders but he didn't involved himself with horses until he was about 18. He initially attended rodeo school and went from never having jumped a fence to competing at three-star level eventing in less than two years. Paget returned to New Zea- land to take up a position with Clifton Eventers in Muriwai in 2007. But he says he would never have ridden for Australia. I never supported the Wallabies. I supported the All Blacks and always thought of myself as a Kiwi.'' He says everyone teased him at school in Australia, because he's a Kiwi. So if I'm going to get heaps for being a Kiwi I may as well be one.'' A place on the team for London is not assured. The position is precarious because it does not just depend on his own fortunes but those of his horses. Paget's Olympic mounts Clifton Promise and Clifton Lush are with him in Britain. Both horses were bred in Muriwai. He has one reserve, Clifton Razz, but despite having 12 competition horses in all, he doesn't consider the others up to the same standard. You never get comfortable because your horse can do something silly and be out for a year. So you're always on the edge of your seat. Nothing is secure. Every- thing can change in a second with horses,'' Paget says. All you want to do is wrap them in cotton wool and not let them out of your sight. But then you risk turning them a little precious. It's like parents with kids who never let them see a grain of dirt and then they're getting sick all the time. It's difficult but you have to let them be horses.'' Clifton Promise and Clifton Lush are both New Zealand thoroughbreds, bred for racing. The entire Kiwi team will ride on the thorough- breds, which he believes are the best in the world. Paget says the New Zea- land team members are look- ing good for the Olympics. They have a lot of experience with Mark Todd and Andrew Nicholson, and results this year at Badminton and Bur- leigh have been encouraging. IN BRIEF Learn to swim Sport Waitakere is addressing concerns over drowning rates with programmes. Last year 28 people drowned in the Auckland region. Sport Waitakere in ionvolved with PoolsiNschoolZ, Wai Wise, Greater Auckland Aquatic Action Plan and He Oranga Poutama. Join league An all-ages muster of the Kaipara Lancers Rugby League and Sports Club is on February 19. Meet from 2pm to 4pm at Rautawhiri Park in Helensville. Call Ian on 021-038-6369. Evacuees reunion meets The Auckland branch of Evacuees Reunion Association hosts its meeting on Saturday at the Guide Centre, 132 Grange Rd, Mt Eden from 1.30pm. This year's national reunion is the main talking point. Bring a small plate to share. Raffle prizes available and members should bring their luggage label. Call Aline on 416-5255 or Connie on 626-7009.
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