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Avalon Biddle is a former Pinehurst School student and champion motorcyclist! After finishing school, she attended Massey University where she succeeded with great grades, but always had a bigger desire to follow her passion of motorcycle racing. A 10-year veteran of racing, Avalon has been steadily progressing to national and international championships and has spent the last four years racing and living in Italy and Europe. This year, Avalon competed under the WIL Sport banner in the European Junior Cup and won the European Women’s Cup held within this championship - she also had a best finish of 13th place against the boys! Avalon answered a few questions from Channel about her achievements in sport and what’s next.
Courtney Bennett: What’s it like to be a New Zealand champion?
Avalon Biddle: Pretty special! I have previously finished runner-up two years in a row, so when I finally won the NZ Superlite championships in March this year against some fast guys, it was a proud moment after many years of hard work. It was also a great confidence boost before heading overseas for another season in Europe.
CB: Why did you start riding bikes?
AB: My dad was always passionate about motorsport and he started my brother and I racing Mini-Motocross when we were in primary school. I always loved the speed but didn’t like the big jumps in motocross so as soon as I turned 13 I tried road racing and immediately it became my number one focus in life as I wanted to be as good as the MotoGP racers I saw on TV.
CB: What was living in Italy like?
AB: Italy is a wonderful place – the people, food, motorsport and culture are mind blowing when you first arrive. It was enjoyable living there but I missed my family and friends a lot. Last year I spent a lot of time in Spain with my sponsors and friends and I enjoyed that also. The atmosphere is a lot more laid back in Spain.
CB: What does it take to be a champion in your sport?
AB: Many years of riding experience, determination to succeed, big goals, a few injuries, the best equipment and unfortunately a big financial budget. Being a rider in Europe costs around $200,000 NZD a year so you need sponsorship partners to race at this level.
CB: Where has your favourite place been to compete in and why?
AB: That’s a tough call between Spain (because of their amazing circuits) and Japan! I raced in a four-hour endurance race at Suzuka this year and it was a blast. The fans are amazing and since most motorcycle manufacturers are Japanese, the bikes and mechanics are the very best.
CB: What’s the best part about representing your country?
AB: When you have other Kiwis come all the way from NZ to Europe to support you race. It’s a pleasure to see them so excited about the massive racing scene we are a part of overseas, and you know that not many other racers have fans dedicated enough to travel that far!
CB: What do you do in your spare time?
AB: Here in New Zealand I have virtually no spare time as I work five-six days a week in a motorcycle shop on Barrys Point Road. Before work I train at Formula Fit gym in Silverdale, and weekends are generally spent at the race track! If I do find any time spare I enjoy going to the beach with friends.
CB: Do you have a mentor?
AB: A few people are always there to give me support and guidance – my boss Ken Dobson, some sponsors Phil, Cheryl and Rex, and also Kiwi motorcycling legend Simon Crafar has helped me out this year.
CB: Do you have to be physically fit to excel at biking? What sort of training do you do?
AB: Yes! The motorcycle I raced in Europe this year was more than 200 kilos. It’s important to have good upper body strength and also excellent aerobic and anaerobic capacity to endure the 35 degree heat and intense races in a full leather suit. Al Wooten at Formula Fit gym has improved my physical condition massively over the past year, which has helped me obtain such great results.
CB: What’s the best part about being a professional sportsperson?
AB: Having the opportunity to be the best in the world at what you do. In Europe, where I can train and race full time, I have the chance every day to improve and make myself better at what I do.
CB: In 10 years time, I’ll be…
AB: Still racing - for a factory team in the world championships!
Channel Magazine: Issuu 60 November 2015