A CHANGE in venue for the opening round of the Australian Supermoto Championship proved fortuitous for Tinonee's Hayden Nelson.
Toowoomba was pencilled in to host the first round, but a couple of issues saw it switched to Port Macquarie. Promotor Damian Cudlin, formerly of Taree, now lives at Port so he was able to organise a track to stage the event.
"Because it was close to home, we decided to go enter,'' Hayden explained.
Hayden nominated for the junior lite class for riders aged under 13 on 85cc bikes. He won the round. Now after the second round in South Australia and the third in Queensland, Hayden is the Australian champion.
The 12-year-old has enjoyed a good week. Soon after he clinched the national title, it was confirmed he's been selected to contest the Oceania Cup in 2020. This is a seven round series for 22 riders aged 11 to 16 used an introduction into road racing. The opening round will be at the home of Australian motorcycle racing, Phillip Island in February. This will be Hayden's debut there.
But back to supermoto and after his success at Port Macquarie it was decided to continue in the series. Hayden maintained his lead following the second round at South Australia in April. Here he was second overall, so he carried a six point lead in the championship going into the last round at Proserpine in Queensland. Hayden said he was 'hopeful' of winning the title.
He increased this to nine points by the last race of the round. Hayden said he was a chance of winning the round overall but was passed by a rider in the last lap. This had no impact on his lead in the championship, but he played safe to finish the race and clinch the title.
He earned a trophy and a treasured gold medallion from Motorcycle Australia. Hayden and his mum and dad, Craig and Jodi, clocked more than 7000km to contest the three rounds.
The process for the Oceania Cup started when Hayden submitted a resume before undergoing a selection process.
This will be Hayden's introduction to road racing and he'll be riding a production bike. As such getting the opportunity to ride his new bike between now and the opening cup round will mean trips to Eastern Creek and Wakefield Park for what are classed as 'ride days.'
The cup is also serves as an academy for the young riders, where they are instructed on everything from bike set-up to handling the media. While the Oceania Cup will dominate his 2020, Hayden also hopes to defend his supermoto championship, where he'll again be in the junior lite class.