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History at Hampton Downs

Chance Stevenson-Oliver in action at Hampton Downs. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


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Local motorcycle rider Chance Stevenson-Oliver was part of a history-making effort at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park in Waikato last weekend.

Stevenson-Oliver joined Nicki Smith (New Plymouth) and Kendal Dunlop (Auckland) to become the first women’s team to compete in the Motul 6-Hour Endurance Race.

The race requires the riders to complete as many laps as possible in the six-hour time period, with one rider on the track at a time.

The trio worked in 30-minutes stints throughout the six hours, and managed to complete 267 laps.

The team who completes the most laps in six hours wins.

The group’s efforts were rewarded when the race finally ended.

“We’re the first ladies team to ever compete, so we won the trophy for first ladies team home,” Stevenson-Oliver said.

“I think there were five women racing, but we were the only team.”

The event started just after 10am on Sunday, and finished just after 4pm.

Stevenson-Oliver said it was the first time any of her team had competed in an endurance event.

“There’s not very many endurance races around — this was the first one I’d ever competed in.

“It took a lot of work fitness-wise — we had to build up our fitness levels, because most races are only about 20 minutes.”

The riders had a lot of help from an enthusiastic support crew, who helped with pit stops and making sure the riders knew when they had to swap.

The team finished 24th overall, and third in their class, but that didn’t stop them from taking the trophy for first women’s team across the line.

Stevenson-Oliver said she was happy with how the bike had handled throughout the race.

“She behaved very predictably the entire day and held steady in the corners.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better set-up — the brakes were a bit dodgy but you get that with pro twins.”

It was the first time the group had come together to ride as a team, but it wouldn’t be the last, she said.

“I usually race against them, but this is the first time we’ve ever teamed up for anything.

“We’ll definitely go back next year and compete for the same cup.”

A total of 30 three-rider teams signed up to race in the third annual edition of the endurance race and the overall winners were Suzuki New Zealand trio Daniel Mettam, Sloan Frost and Scotty Moir, who completed 314 laps.

It was a comprehensive start-to-finish victory after the team had also topped the qualifying table.

Stevenson-Oliver will now prepare for her next event, which she says is the biggest race in New Zealand.

That event is round three of the Suzuki Series, which will be held at the Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day.

Cemetery Circuit is a temporary motorcycle street racetrack in downtown Whanganui.

It was named because the track goes through the old town cemetery, and has been running since 1951.

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