Tim Wenden, left, with Richard and Mariana Wenden. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
By Jake Beleski
Richard Wenden has aspirations of becoming one of the best Supercross riders in the world, and this weekend in Las Vegas he will take another step along that path.
The 7-year-old member of the Guam International Raceway Motorcycle and ATV Club (GIRMAC), has been selected to participate in the KTM Junior Supercross Challenge to be held on Sunday (NZT) at the Sam Boyd Stadium track.
Richard is the son of Tim and Anneliese Wenden, New Zealanders now residing on the island of Guam in the Pacific.
Tim was born and raised in Wairarapa and attended Wairarapa College.
Growing up in Carterton, he was a member of the Martinborough Motorcycle Club.
Anneliese was born and raised in Dunedin.
The Wendens have been living in Guam since 2003, when a job opportunity in the construction industry drew them over for a two-year “O.E.” experience that turned into 14 years.
They are no strangers to Wairarapa, however, as for the past three years Richard and his older sister, Mariana, have attended St Mary’s School in Carterton for the American summer, and will be attending again this year in June and July.
Tim’s parents, John and Karyn Wenden, live in Carterton, as well as Tim’s sister, Sarah, and her children Neve and Ella, who also attend St Mary’s.
Richard was one of 15 chosen from hundreds of applicants around the world to take part in the prestigious event.
The 15 riders will be treated to VIP status, and will be assigned their own pit crew.
Applicants had to meet certain criteria to enter, showing proof of height, weight, racing accomplishments, and an above-average report card.
Riders had to be 7 or 8 years old, and Richard will be joined by one other competitor from New Zealand to represent the Pacific.
He will get to meet the best riders in the world, including Ryan Dungey, the reigning champion in the 450 Supercross class.
They will compete in a three-lap exhibition race during the intermission of the Supercross final, in front of 50,000 fans.
Richard started riding when he was 3 years old, when his motocross-riding father began teaching him.
Practices were held at the Guam International Raceway in Yigo, first with and then without training wheels.
At age 4, he began to race competitively as part of the GIRMAC Club, and now rides a KTM50, sponsored by Rocky Mountain Precast.
He races his 50cc against boys mostly three or four years older, riding 65cc bikes, and placed second in the 65cc class of the 2017 Monster Energy Guam MX Championships.
The Monster Energy AMA Supercross event is scheduled to be shown on ESPN 2 from 1pm on Sunday.