By SHELLEY TOPP
Japanese motoring giant Yamaha has chosen a pint-sized motocross powerhouse from Cheviot to ride at Australia’s Motocross Nationals in Newcastle this month.
Richard Spencer, aged 8, has been riding motorbikes since he was 2 and already has four sponsors and 10 motocross trophies to his name.
He will leave for Australia on July 13 for the nationals and make the all-expenses paid trip with his father, Danny.
Richard’s father and mother, Fiona, are sheep and beef farmers.
Father and son are both motorbike mad, Fiona says.
They both use motorbikes to get around the farm. She prefers riding horses and has tried to convince Richard they are better to ride, but it was no contest.
Every day after school, Richard is off on his bike, helping out around the farm, Fiona says.
Yamaha chose Richard to promote the company’s new Yamaha YZ65 model at Newcastle after a nationwide search.
The company asked its dealership owners around New Zealand to recommend suitable young riders for the event.
One of Richard’s sponsors, Bob McCleary, of Bob McCleary Yamaha in Rangiora, put Richard’s name forward.
“I recommended Richard because of his ability, and because he’s a good ambassador for our brand, Bob says.
Richard has had his heart set on a new Yamaha YZ65 for some time, Fiona says.
“He is a great little worker around the farm and is always asking us if we have any jobs he can do. He has been pruning pine trees, grubbing nasella tussock and doing yard work to try and save up for a new bike.
However, the new bike came sooner than expected only recently when the family called into Bob’s Lineside Road shop to collect a new jacket on their way to the Westland Motor Cycle Club’s winter series competition in Hokitika.
Richard was excited to see a new Yamaha YZ65 on the showroom floor, but even more so when Bob told him he could take it away with him.
He had his first race on the new machine the next day, on June 10, in Hokitika, finishing fourth in the overall competition against older riders.
He loves the new bike and is looking forward to showcasing it for Yamaha in races at Australia’s premier motocross championship in Newcastle, which is being held in mid-July.
Richard also enjoys the support of other sponsors.
They are Anderson Earthmoving from Scargill and McDonald’s in Gisborne.