Off to Oz for motocross

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Oamaru motocross rider Joel Meikle is hoping it will be lucky number four when he heads to Australia on Wednesday.

He’s been to Australia to race on three previous occasions but those trips didn’t end too well, with broken bones, flat tyres and electrical problems.

Now over his injuries and looking for a big season, Meikle has set himself some lofty goals.

“I think I can win and I’m going over there to try and win it.”

Meikle, who has been riding since he was 9-years-old, is looking to come out on top in the under-19 section of the Australian Nationals.

“As soon as I get to Australia, that’ll be my focus to do what I can to win it.”

The series runs until mid-August and features 10 different rounds at tracks throughout Australia.

“It’ll be a great chance to experience racing on different tracks. It’ll be tough but will be well worth it.”

Originally Meikle took the sport up as a bit of fun, he said, but now he was hoping to go as far as possible.

“It’s still fun which is what I like about it, but it’s also beginning to get more serious and is almost like a job for me now.”

At 13, Meikle gave up riding for two years due to broken bones and arthritis. However, two years ago his mother talked him into hopping back on the bike, he said.

While he had been away from the bike for about three weeks, and was not quite where he wanted to be in terms of fitness, Meikle was confident it would come right.

“I’m not quite where I want to be physically but if I don’t win this weekend then I’m not terribly concerned as I will be in much better condition after the first couple of rounds.”

Meikle will not be the only New Zealander competing, with four others travelling to Australia –¬†two in the MX2 class and two in the MX1 class. Former under-19 winner Hamish Harwood is competing in the MX2 section and will be living with Meikle.

“I’ll look to him for some advice as he’s won it before but it’ll be great staying with him as we get on quite well and he trains at a very high standard.”

At the end of the 10 weeks, if Meikle does win, he will receive free entry to compete next year.

“I’ll get to compete again next year if I do win, but I’ll have to move up a class.”

He rides a KTM 250 SFX and is eager to get racing.

“It’s a big event for me, the first race is on Sunday in Victoria and I want to get over there and get into the swing of things.”

By Brayden Lindsay

PHOTO: SUPPLIED –¬†Oamaru motocross rider Joel Meikle on one of his KTM 250 SFX bikes which he will be using in Australia.