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Competing At Trial Champs A Massive Balancing Act

OCTOBER 27, 2020: Porirua's Dylan Ball has done it again, but it was never easy for the talented teenager, pushed all the way by a wily old veteran in the 2020 New Zealand Trial Championships in Canterbury over Labour Weekend.

Ball won the premier Expert Grade for the first time when the contest was held in Hawke's Bay last year and the 16-year-old was favourite to repeat the feat this year too, although seven-time former national champion Warren Laugesen, from Napier, in a return to competition after a six-year hiatus, had a few different ideas about that.

The three-day Marlborough Motorcycles-sponsored competition – set out on challenging terrain at three separate venues near Christchurch – ended up with Ball winning each day and topping the Expert Grade, but the 47-year-old Laugesen pushed him all the way. Christchurch's Jules Huguenin completed the podium in this grade.

"I was surprised to be that close to Dylan (Ball) on day three. Glad I could make him work for it," said an elated Laugesen. "Fitness and fatigue played its part in the end and that's where he got me in the end. I was getting better as each day went on and I was not so rusty by day three," he laughed.

Ball, who is also a national under-17 footballer, again added the Junior Grade title to his trophy cabinet at the weekend, finishing ahead of Greymouth's "West Coast Warrior", talented road-racer Clark Fountain.

Meanwhile, Dunedin's Blake Fox edged out Kaikoura's David Trewin to win the A Grade.

Motorcycling New Zealand (MNZ) trial commissioner Paul Jackson said the host Pioneer Motorcycle Club had done an "excellent job of setting the courses and the riders really enjoyed tackling them".

The North Island versus South Island component of the weekend was won by the nine riders representing the North Island, with just one point to separate the two teams in the end, 24 to 23.

"We let the North Island riders win the battle-within-a-battle for North versus South glory, just so we can keep them coming back down here," Jackson joked.

Other class winners at the weekend were Invercargill's Brad Hibbs (Intermediate Grade); Wellington's Finn Pearce (A Grade mini electric), Blenheim's Brendon Wadsworth (Presidents' Grade); Christchurch's Kahu Jones (Sportsman Grade); Tauranga's Warwick Merriman (Clubman Grade); Hunterville's Hannah Rushworth (Women's Grade); Christchurch's Simon Jones (Twin Shock); Christchurch's Evie Hubbard (B Grade mini electric).

"Brad Hibbs doesn't ride that often, but he really dominated his Intermediate Grade. Brendon Wadsworth was one of our event sponsors, so it was fantastic to see him finally crack it and get a title in the Presidents' Grade," said Jackson.

"MNZ president Noel May was in attendance over the weekend too and he enjoyed the action, appreciating our focus on the youth in this sport."

Credit: Words by Andy McGechan,

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