Dunedin motocross rider Grason Veitch (14) learnt to ride a motorbike not long after he learned to walk and 12 years later that almost innate knowledge is paying dividends.
The Otago Boys' High School year 11 pupil headed back to the classroom this week after an extremely successful start to the year during which he has won two major events.
His first hit-out for 2017 was the annual King of the Mountain motocross in Taranaki over the weekend of January 21 and 22. Grason dominated the 14-16 years 250cc class with a hat-trick of wins on his KTM 250, despite his age rendering him ‘‘the kid in the group,'' he said.
He also finished runner-up in the feature race that weekend, at the same Barrett Rd circuit that will host the 2017 New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships on April 22-23.
The weekend following the Taranaki event, Grason raced in the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville, but switched to his smaller capacity KTM 125cc to win all three 12 to 14 years 125cc class races.
While the bigger bike is his main machine now, Grason sometimes competes in both classes to give himself more race time at events.
‘‘Me and dad [Dean Veitch] just decide what we want to do,'' he said.
This year will see the father and son duo head over to the Australian Junior Motocross Championships at Horsham, Victoria, in September.
‘‘This is the same venue for the World Junior Motocross Championships in 2018 and Motorcycling New Zealand will be helping out sending a team, which Grason is hoping to be a part of,'' Veitch said.
Grason is fortunate on many levels his coach, former World Motocross Championship runner-up Josh Coppins, said. He was born with natural ability, probably courtesy of his father and grandfather Bill Veitch's motorbike-racing pedigree. His family owns McIver & Veitch motorcycle dealership, meaning his bike maintenance is in safe hands and he is a ‘‘very, very talented, great kid,'' Coppins said.
‘‘He does have the potential to go all the way. He is really excelling at the big events. It will be interesting to see the next steps.''
Grason confesses that hunting is his favourite form of training at the moment and it seems the hikes in the hills are working for him.
Coppins said he catches up with Grason three or four times a year to go over his riding and sends him away with areas to work on.
‘‘Right now he's got to the point where he's very good and there's not a lot to work on as far as his skill set. It's more trying to push him to apply himself more and put more intensity and speed into it,'' Coppins said.
Grason, who got his first motorbike when he was 2 and began racing aged 4, has the Gold Nuggets MX event on the West Coast next weekend as he builds towards the nationals.
As a 13-year-old he topped the country's 12-14 years 125cc class and this year, he will be doing double duties on a 125cc bike in the 12 to 14 years class and also riding his 250cc KTM in the junior class. It is a good strategy for keeping tabs on the opposition, Grason said.
‘‘I get to know all the other riders and how they ride.''
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