BIDDLE KEEPS NZ FLAG FLYING AS SHE CHASES TOP HONOURS IN EUROPE SERIES
Avalon Biddle has been valiant in her efforts to wave the New Zealand flag in Europe this season.
The 22-year-old from Orewa has made waves in Italy and other corners of Europe over the past couple of seasons and she is now halfway through her campaign in the European Junior Cup, the eight-round series that shares the billing with some rounds of the World Superbike Championships.
While she has been contesting the European Junior Cup, Biddle has also been scoring points in the parallel European Women’s Cup, meaning she is having a crack at scoring honours in two separate European competitions at the same time.
“I like racing against the boys and it’s a level playing field because we all ride almost identical bikes,” she explained.
For the two interlocked contests, Biddle races a Honda CBR650F. All riders are on identical bikes, so each rider’s ability, and perhaps the unpredictable element of luck, are the only factors that separate them.
More than 30 riders from 16 countries are competing in the European Junior Cup.
Biddle is the lone Kiwi, but her boyfriend, Jake Lewis of Rangiora, is also at the races and offering support.
He is racing a Yamaha R6 in the separate Superstock 600 series in Europe, but is not among the leading title contenders. Lewis won the European Junior Cup in 2013.
After four of eight rounds in this year’s series, Biddle is 20th overall after finishing 19th in her race at the latest round at Donington Park, in the British Midlands, just over a week ago.
“We arrived in Britain the week prior to the race planning to get on track last Monday, but things didn’t quite work out, so I was left to learn the track during practice on Friday.
“I was expecting a difficult weekend as I remembered [fellow Kiwi rider] Connor London telling me about the eventful race there last year.
“However this time around we were very lucky as despite the overcast conditions, the rain held out all weekend which made things much easier in that regard.
“Donington is an amazing circuit; the tarmac flowing with the lush, undulating English countryside and the first five corners, including the famous Craner Curves, are spectacular as you drop downhill.
“On the CBR650F it was nearly full throttle in fifth gear, so it is pretty exhilarating to ride.
“I got a good start in the race on Sunday, but stuffed up turn one and dropped a few positions. Being so far back did have one advantage in that I avoided another first-lap crash which took out four riders.
“I quickly got into a groove and made my way up to 19th position where I finished the race.
“I’m not afraid to admit the DNFs in the last two races made me approach this weekend very differently. My goal is to win the women’s [class of the] championship and I have to do all I can to make that happen, which means finishing every race.
“It’s hard because you always want to beat the people in front of you, especially when they are boys, but to win a European women’s championship will be a big step in my career so I’m very focused on simply finishing the rest of the races throughout the season.”
Spanish rider Javier Orellana leads the European Junior Cup series, ahead of French rider Guillaume Raymond and Italian Paolo Gassia.
Hungarian Viktoria Kis and Briton Charlie Oakland are Biddle’s closest rivals in the battle for European Women’s Cup honours.
Biddle was best-performed of the women at Donington Park and is now first-equal with Kis in the Women’s Cup competition.
“The next round of the championship is in Portimao, in Portugal [on June 7], which should be another cracker event. I already know the circuit, so I’m looking forward to that,” said Biddle.