Dan's a man in a hurry

By GREG WHITE

THERE are two reasons why that young bloke from T and D Roofing is climbing all over your building.

Not only is he there to fix your roof but he's saving the cash he needs to ride for Australia.

Dan Ralph ? the 'D' part of T and D ? is typical of the dozens of top-notch sporting stars who direct a huge slab of their private earnings into pursuit of a dream.

"You'll never get rich out of what I do," he laughed while preparing to cross the Tasman next month for the World Off Road dirt bike six-day international.

"You put food on the table for your family, then you pay the competition bills.

"There isn't much left over."

But there are some compensations, especially when others share his goals.

"Solo Imports approached me to ride for them as a privateer and they've come up with the Gas Gas 300cc enduro bike I use in competition," he said.

"And Coffs Motorcycles assist with the race planning.

"Almost everything else is paid for by fixing roofs."

With team-mates Anthony Roberts and Stefan Merriman, Ralph leaves the country on November 6 for the international event starting eight days later.

Currently ranked number two in the Australian off-road series Pro E3 class, Ralph will ride the blue and white Gas Gas (number 74) in two E3 classes at Lake Tapou.

"The over 250cc two-stroke and the over 450cc four-stroke," he said. "We won't get it easy as we come face-to-face with the world champion."

That opponent is Juha Salminen, 10-time winner of the world title.

"If you're going to have a go you might as well try to knock off the bloke who's the best in the business," Ralph grinned.

However well the Aussie team does there won't be much in the way of New Zealand dollars coming home.

"It's all about winning medals and doing the very best you can," Ralph said.

"And as soon as I get home it's back up the ladder and saving for the next excursion."



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