WAIKATO YOUNGSTER BECOMES KEY MEMBER OF AUSSIE HONDA TEAM
Trent Collins may have a huge future ahead of him, especially if he can live up to the faith being placed in him by one of Australia’s leading motocross teams.
The 15-year-old from Ohaupo, south of Hamilton, was outstanding in the junior race action at the 55th annual Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville in January, and raced among the seniors the following day.
He landed in Australia last weekend to join “Hogan’s Heroes”, becoming a key member of former Australian champion Lee Hogan’s BCP Honda Team, and his buildup to this international campaign has been impressive.
Collins, a year 11 pupil at Cambridge High School, scored a hat-trick of wins in the junior 14-16 years’ 250cc class on Saturday’s first day of action at Woodville, finishing the day a solid 11 points clear of his nearest threat, Reece Walker (Nelson).
Collins underlined that by winning the joint 125cc-250cc Champion of Champions feature race that wrapped up the day, taking the chequered flag ahead of Wyatt Chase (Taupo).
On the Sunday Collins raced in the senior MX2 (250cc) class, joining a full grid of 40 elite riders, many of whom were current or former Kiwi internationals. He settled for 10th overall.
“It has been a good summer for me ... I won my class on both days at the annual Honda Summercross (just after Christmas), and I won my class at the Auckland Champs and the Waikato Champs.”
Collins continued to race against the seniors at the four-round New Zealand Motocross Championships, the series wrapping up at Taupo just a few weeks ago.
At 15 he has nearly two years before he’s compelled to join the senior ranks on a permanent basis. But Collins impressed against the “big boys“, finishing eighth overall out of 58 MX2 class entrants in the senior nationals.
There is a sort of transition period allowed for juniors who wish to “dip their toes into the waters” of senior racing while retaining their junior status, and Collins took advantage of this.
“I felt I did pretty well, racing up against the big guns,” he said.
“It was important that I didn’t pick up any injuries racing the senior nationals, because I didn’t want to jeopardise my ride in Australia, and I’m thankful I came through the Kiwi series without a scratch. I think I’m riding the best I ever have at the moment.”
He is raring to go when races begin in Australia.
“I will be racing for the BCP Honda Team that’s based in Melbourne and run by Lee Hogan.
“I will race the junior 250cc class in the Victorian State Motocross Championships ... although I missed the first round of that series because it was the same weekend as the second round of the New Zealand nationals. But I will be there for the next three rounds in Australia and then race a couple of New South Wales state rounds as well.”
Collins will return to tackle the two-day New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships in Hawke’s Bay on April 23-24.
To wrap up his Australian adventure, Collins will then line up at the Australian Junior Motocross Championships at the end of the year.
“I’ve simply kept up my training, so there has been no let-up at all. I run, cycle, do gym work and ride my motocross bike during the week, so my fitness should be excellent.
“Lee Hogan has been happy with what he’s seen from me and commented that I’m a great addition to his team. I just need to prove him right.”