The Encounter Race Team’s campaign in the NZ Motocross season over 2013/14 has been a journey of triumphs and misfortunes that has lead to a victorious finish.
This was the first time Encounter (a not-for-profit charity based in Te Puke) had entered a team in the national motocross competitions, so it required a shift in thinking from being competitors to being team mates. Encounter co-founder and team manager Mary Wanhill says the switch has been a huge success.
“We want to develop strong and competitive individuals, but at the same time promote an extra component of a team atmosphere, and create a community as I believe it is community that strengthens the individual,” says Mary.
To achieve this, team riders competed in a number of local motocross events, including the NZMX National series. To create a community presence, pit-crew were allocated to jobs such as bike maintenance and cleaning, start gate preparation, rider coaching and pit-boarding. The Encounter Race Team uniform, funded by New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT), also helped create a sense of pride, belonging and contributing to others.
“We’d like to thank NZCT for its generous contribution and Fox racewear who also got on board,” says Mary. “The Encounter Race Team really stood out and was highly visible in its bright team colours while competing.”
The team’s debut was at the prestigious Summercross event held in the Western Bay of Plenty’s Awakaponga track. The heavy rain overnight continued most the day leaving the track and riders unrecognisable. With many competitors not enduring the tough conditions, opportunity was open for Encounter Race Team riders to gain some impressive results, which they accomplished through sheer determination. Clean up was not so much fun but, after all, they are riding ‘dirt’ bikes.
Next it was onto the NZMX National series starting at Tokoroa, then Pukekohe and finished at Taupo. Nerves were running high as riders sought to overcome their fears of competing at these prestigious events. After the first round, they realised they could tackle it and headed into the second round with more confidence and strength. This was confirmed at Taupo’s final event of the season, with some impressive results and a team working together supporting each other’s holistic wellbeing.
With some impressive racing and sportsmanship throughout the season, it was all smiles as the team celebrated their achievements with a meal and hot swim after the final event. Gaining the competitive edge in racing is all about tactics and what better way to do this than in a team environment.
“We are already looking forward to what the next season will bring with more events and added impact in people’s lives,” says Mary.
Applications will open for the 2014/15 Encounter Race Team season July 1st with the season starting at the Taupo MX Extravaganza event. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.