Trials Torque Articles
Oceania Championship - Tauranga 5 April 2007
Article courtesy of MNZ -
Wellington's Jake Whitaker (Expert, Gas Gas), Ashhurst's Kevin Pinfold (Master, Gas Gas) and New Plymouth's Matt Foster (Junior, Beta) team up under the Silver Fern flag to take on Kyle Middleton (Expert, Gas Gas), from Newcastle, Kerrin Phillips (Master, Sherco), from Canberra, and Jason Byrne (Junior, Gas Gas), from Bangore, Sydney.
The trans-Tasman "battle of balance"' shares the two-day programme with rounds three and four of the North Island Trials Championships, at a venue near Te Puke on Saturday and then totally different terrain near Tauranga on Sunday.
With 35 years of trials riding experience under his belt, the 51-year-old Pinfold is likely to be the anchor to the Kiwi team. Although his two 15-year-old team-mates, Whitaker and Foster, are perhaps short on experience, they're certainly not lacking in talent. The fact that Whitaker takes the lead role, as New Zealand's Expert class representative, is testimony to this.
Whitaker's naming in the New Zealand squad sent ripples through the Kiwi trials riding community with the teenager getting the nod ahead of national No.1 Warren Laugesen (Levin).
But Whitaker has been widely touted as the New Zealand's hottest prospect for winning a world title, possibly as early as next season. He is not eligible for the Junior World Championships this season with 16 years the youngest allowable age for entrants. He turns 16 after the opening round of the world championships this year.
Even with such a strong line-up, the Kiwi trio will have their work cut out beating the Australians this weekend.
The rise to the top of the sport for 17-year-old Australian visitor Middleton has been just as swift and sure as that of Whitaker and their face-off in the Expert class will be a nail-biting encounter.
Australian Masters class rider Phillips is the NSW champion. An expatriate Kiwi, he also represented New Zealand in 1986.
Australian junior rider Byrne (15) was runner-up in the 2006 Australian Junior Championships.
General Enquiries to Stephen & Deborah Oliver
Thanks to our partners