Life on the road competing on a national level can be especially hard for any amateur sports person.
They are usually self-funded – parents and the credit card plus a few local sponsors up against factory-supported riders on a wage.
Balclutha’s Madison Latta will be living from day to day, trying to maintain his fitness, recover from any injuries and repairs needed to himself or his machine, all while he tries to find those tenths of a second difference between being competitive or just another back marker.
A year on from his last tilt at the national Super Cross title, Latta will again take to the road this weekend, but the experience of racing against quality fields in the south recently should stand him in good steed as he heads north.
Competing at the recent fourth round of the Southern Series of motocross in Gore, he gained three wins in the MX2 series to take over the class lead and then a pair of seconds in the MX1 class helped him maintain his second placing in that series.
“My main competition in the MX2 class crashed in the first heat and didn’t race any more at the Gore meeting a couple of weekends ago, so I picked up valuable points to now lead that series,” he said.
The final round of the Southern Series will be held at Leith Stream on December 7.
Latta said he would be mindful of his hold on the series but he always raced to win so would not be easing off too much.
Now the focus for the 21-year-old motorcycle mechanic from Balclutha is the three-round New Zealand Super Cross series, which begins this weekend, in Winton.
Concentrating only on the SX2 class, Latta said super cross racing was a whole new level of skill and fitness above motocross.
“You are racing on very tight and technical tracks, they are really fun and I really like racing on them but you have to be fit.”
He said that last year when he travelled north to compete in the Auckland and Tokoroa rounds of the series, it was a steep learning experience.
“I was crazy nervous then, I just couldn’t get my head into it and had a couple of bad runs and falls, but the experience of travelling and racing each weekend plus the skills I picked up from the pros have helped me a lot. This year I am a lot more confident, I hope to click into it really quickly and I now know what to expect, so all I have to do is get quicker,” he said.