Ella Shannon flying through the mud. Below: With her Honda bike. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED
The sky’s the limit for Eketahuna teenager Ella Shannon after a stunning debut at the nationals, reports Chris Cogdale.
Eketahuna 14-year-old Ella Shannon is bubbling with confidence after she finished second overall on debut at the junior women’s national motocross championships, at the end of April, at Himatangi.
That’s a remarkable performance given the short period she has been racing competitively and the large numbers and tough, uncompromising nature of junior motocross.
Shannon, who is a Year 11 boarder at Solway College, has been riding motorbikes since she was eight years old, but only took to the race track competitively two years ago.
Contesting the highly competitive 85cc-150cc category, which is for two-stroke 85cc bikes and four-stroke 150cc bikes, Shannon finished second in four of the seven races, third in two races and fourth in the other on her Honda CRS150.
She collected 146 points, 29 behind runaway winner Ticayla Manson, who dominated every race, and 14 points ahead of third-placed Brooke Dalley.
Shannon was stoked with her result and said Manson was a deserving winner.
“She was quite a bit better than most of the 125cc riders [the next highest class of racing].
“My lap times were best on Friday when I was second top qualifier, but in the second to last race I did catch up on her lap times, and that was huge.”
Shannon admitted she was pretty nervous going into the races but the support she received kept her relaxed.
“My support crew of the guys from Bisset Honda [Pahiatua], City Honda and Norwoods [Palmerston North] were really good in getting me ready and keeping me calm.
“And probably having my dad, Bevan, there to give me advice was a big help and my mum, Sharon, who keeps pushing me to get results.”
Shannon will keep racing over the winter but said her next big challenge would probably be the women’s national championships in September.
But the daughter of dairy and beef farmers, Bevan, and Sharon, has loftier ambitions.
“My goal is to be number one woman in New Zealand before I’m 18.”
And if she makes it, it will be a launching pad to joining New Zealand greats Katherine Prumm, a world champion in the 2000s, and Courtney Duncan, 23, who has been chasing a world title for several years.