Ashlea?s on a high after dream debut
By GREG WHITE
ONE week after her 16th birthday motocross star Ashlea Bates has debuted in senior competition placing second to world champion Katherine Prumm in the Ssang Yong New Zealand Motocross championship.
Back in Australia preparing for a return trip across the Tasman at the end of October, her mother Jo said Ashlea was overwhelmed by the dream result.
"When final points came through the tears started and she was so proud to be up on that podium," Jo said.
"The course was like being on a beach with all the sandy dunes -- she'd never ridden on that type of track before.
"It was scary and she came off the bike twice but her third ride was the best and clinched her the placing."
In her first ride, Ashlea came off her machine, fell back to 13th before improving to third.
Another spill came in her second event -- again she went back to 13th before chasing the field to just miss a placing.
But her third ride was a beauty, eventually clinching her overall standing.
"She drew the worst gate and had to work hard from the start," Jo said.
"This time she stayed on the bike but just failed to catch the world champion who won all three events."
Prumm tallied a perfect 75 score for the day.
Ashlea equalled on 60 with Kristy Gillespie but was elevated on countback.
The top three riders gapped the field with the 4th placegetter 11 points adrift.
Fellow Australians Emma Davis and Jemma Wilson finished 5th and 13th respectively.
"The second round for the women's title is six weeks away and sponsors Go Girl Racing will be funding the trip back over," Jo said.
Racing will be conducted by the South Canterbury Motorcycle Club on 21-22 October.