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Wintle wins it all

Eva Wintle was “beyond words” after winning a national motorcycle championship in only her first full year in the championship.

The Masterton 23-year-old went into the final round of the GIXXER 150 class at Hampton Downs over the weekend, holding a 29-point lead over Sebastian Mitchell, with Nixon Frost a further point back.

Mechanical problems in Saturday’s first race saw Wintle limp home to pick up a valuable nine points, with Frost taking the win and Mitchell finishing third to close the gap.

“Unfortunately, on Saturday, I had some bike issue, where it lost almost all of its power, so it wasn’t responding very well, but I managed to keep circulating in order to get points in that race, but it wasn’t the outcome I had hoped for from race one,” said Wintle, who luckily had a good backup bike in working order for Sunday’s two races.

Heavy rain made the track unsafe and forced the second race to be red-flagged after two laps, meaning it was all on in the third and final race. Wintle rode a controlled race to finish second just ahead of Mitchell to wrap up a deserved championship.

“The feeling going over the start-finish line in race three was beyond words,” the Tremains real estate sales consultant said.

“I really did not think that I was going to pull it off because the calibre of riders that have come through this class in the last several months has been exceptional, so I truly did not think going into this weekend with the bike issues that I had and things like that I could do it.”

Wintle was thrilled to secure the title with her father Jarrod and sister Nerissa present at Hampton Downs, although she was gutted that her stepfather and five-time sidecar national champion ‘Spike’ Taylor could not be there to celebrate because he could barely walk after severely damaging his ankle, an injury which also ended any hope of him pushing for a sixth title.

He eventually had to settle for second in the Formula One class.

Wintle’s victory was built on finishing races and consistently scoring points over the five-round series. She picked up two wins, two second placings, and two third placings for 211 points, 27 ahead of runner-up Mitchell.

“I was very fortunate I didn’t crash out in any races. I did in practice, though, but not in races.

“It did come down to consistency; I podiumed in a few races, which was really cool, and it was one heck of a season.”

Wintle intends to compete again next season in the GIXXER 150, the development class created by Suzuki NZ for young riders and raced solely on Suzuki GSX150F bikes, but she is also looking at other options.

“It’s a really cool class to get people involved and develop in the sport. It’s done heaps for my experience and confidence in racing, so it would be really cool to see it grow and progress,” she said.

“I bought a [Kawasaki] Ninja 300 track bike last year, which I’ve done a couple of track days on, and that’s the next class to progress to, so I’m thinking of taking a step into that class potentially, but I will continue riding the 150 as well because its’ a cool class to be a part of, so I could do both the 300 and 150.”

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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