Ashlea ?on the mend

By GREG WHITE

ASHLEA Bates is still recovering from the mystery illness that blighted her chance of winning the recent Ssang Yong New Zealand Motocross championships.

Despite a limited preparation of no more than 30 minutes on her Kawasaki leading into the titles, Bates landed her first senior podium by finishing runner-up to Kristy Gillespie with whom she'd tied for equal second in last month's opening round.

"As sick as she was, we felt Ashlea had a big chance of winning when World Champion Katherine Prumm pulled out for a knee reconstruction," mum Jo said.

"But from the moment she became tangled up after the start in the first race she was on the back foot behind Kristy.

"Even so the race marshalls were amazed she did well enough to finish second overall in the tournament."

Ignoring the tangle, Bates finished third in her opening engagement.

In the second she missed a gear and dropped well back before recovering to just miss.

Being cut off in her third start ruined her chances but she still finished hard for third.

"Ashlea passed out on the floor of the shower after the racing and she needed oxygen on the plane coming home," Jo said.

"She needs her rest and will have only a limited schedule for the rest of the year."

That schedule will include a handful of club meetings with only the Tivoli, Warwick and Reedy Creek events on the calendar till the end of 2006.

In the Warwick event on January 21 she'll tangle again with her main rivals from across the Tasman.



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