Zane Hopkins wins Australian championship

Zane Hopkins is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week.
Zane Hopkins is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week.

IT was the biggest disappointment of his young sporting life.

Zane Hopkins was running second in the 65cc 7-9 years final at the Australian Junior Track Championships held at the Old Bar Roadside Circuit last year.

The Taree Motor Cycle Club rider was looking good to at least finish on the podium...or even claim the crown. Then disaster struck.

“I was knocked off my bike,’’ he said.

So that made him determined to win a championship this year. He did just that at the titles held in Tamworth when he scored a decisive victory in the final of the 65cc 7-9 years class.

Zane is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week, earning a $50 open order at Iguana.

He’d clocked up a couple of second placings in the heats. However, a change to his bike’s suspension and gearing did the trick in the final.

Here Zane hit the lead from the start and maintained his advantage through to the chequered flag.

“It was so good,’’ he smiled when asked how it felt when he crossed the line.

It was Zane’s first major championship, with a couple of minor placings at State-level previously his best effort.

Zane was an early starter in the sport, beginning on a quad bike at the grandparents’ property before progressing to a pee-wee.

About four years ago close family friend Ian Bisley suggested he try racing with the Taree club. Now he races anywhere around the State just about every second weekend.

When he’s not racing, Zane’s on his bike practicing.

Next year he’ll move onto an 85cc bike and Zane’s looking forward to the challenge.

“Yep, a bigger and faster bike – it’ll be good,’’ he said.

He thanks his support crew of Ian Bisley and Garth Wilby for maintaining his bike along with the help he received from Magic Mud Rendering and Farrelly Construction Service.

However, Zane doesn’t spend all his spare time on a bike.

He's also a keen rugby league player with the Taree Panthers under nines. He was the club’s mini league player of the year for 2018. Zane’s looking forward to graduating into under 10s next season – the first of the competitive age groups.

He hopes to play either halfback or five-eighth.

Zane also plays touch footy and this year represented Taree under 10s in the junior State Cup played at Port Macquarie. There’ll be trials for the 2019 teams coming up soon.

When he can fit it in Zane also likes to take part in the weekly Taree parkrun on Saturday mornings while he’s also had the occasional game of basketball.

Zane, nine, attends Taree West Public School.