Team Skoda Racing has the use of a Skoda Superb and a Skoda Octavia RS. The Superb is perfect as our main race car as it has New Zealand’s only European pro-cycling roof rack — big enough to hold seven Trek bikes and 11 of our DT Swiss wheels as well as room for tools, spares, food, manager and mechanic. We usually have six to eight riders at a race, so there is a lot of gear. We appreciate the great features of both Skodas — the extra storage, nav system, comfort and having enough go to get to the right part of the race to support the riders.
What is Team Skoda Racing?
It is a team of 12 riders racing as an elite squad and continuing their individual goals and ambitions. The team has Campbell Stewart (four times junior world champion), Connor Brown (world junior team pursuit champion) and Robert Stannard (who, with Campbell, is representing New Zealand at the World Road Cycling Championships in Qatar).
Who else is allowed to drive the Superb?
Unfortunately I have to share this with the team riders and managers as our races are across the country. Luckily it seems to find its way back to me between journeys.
Who cleans it?
Whoever is using it — the cost of use — before and after every race, including the bikes and all our gear inside.
Do you prefer manual or automatic cars?
Auto with the manual option. That allows more time to concentrate when following the bike races at 50-plus km/h, and it’s less hassle in the traffic.
Do you prefer cars or bikes?
Both offer enjoyment, relaxation and frustration. Cars have aircon and stereos. Bikes don’t need fuelling.
The team’s most memorable road trip?
After the New Zealand Club Cycling National Championships in Alexandra, Robert Stannard and fellow team owner Brad Tilby spent a couple of days riding out to Milford, around the Queenstown area, and up through Mt Cook — the best riding New Zealand offers.
If you could go with any cyclist to any cycling event?
I would love to spend several days riding some of the iconic climbs from Tour de France with the riders from the Trek-Segafredo pro team, including Fabian Cancellara.
Favourite movie car scene?
Car chase in Ronin — great movie.
Favourite racing car driver?
I am really liking the drive of Max Verstappen in F1. I had the pleasure of hanging out with his father, Jos, many years ago and he was a great guy and an awesome driver. It is nice to see his son building the family legacy.
Great day trip out of Auckland?
My favourite is the coast ride through Drury, out to Miranda, Kawakawa Bay and home — a six- to seven-hour ride. It’s an awesome drive as well (just watch out for bikes).
Scariest place in the world to ride a bike?
Dare I say it? The Auckland Waterfront on a Saturday. People are too busy enjoying themselves to take in what is going on — whether on the footpath, bike path or road. Other cyclists and drivers ... what irritates you most?
Bad drivers, bad cyclists — both irritate me. Everybody needs to ride or drive more carefully. Relax and enjoy the journey. If you could change one road rule?
Enforce the safe passing distance rule. The 1.5m law is key to the safety of riders. I cannot understand why people “buzz” cyclists or try to squeeze through and risk the rider’s life.
Should cyclists be allowed to bike through red lights ... as some do?
No. The rules work when everybody follows them.
Should cyclists be on the road or do separate cycle lanes work better?
I am not a fan of bike lanes, especially in Auckland where they tend to make the road narrower and more difficult for all users. Make the roads wider instead, so there is room for everybody. Provide areas where casual and younger riders can be safe but elsewhere design the roads safer.