SHOCK was the best way 11-year-old Kadin Cracknell could describe how he felt when he became the Speedway New Zealand Junior Solo Competitor of the Year.
“We were in Christchurch for a race meeting, we were looking online and I saw my picture come up.
“We all just started freaking out.”
The Invercargill youngster credits six years of practice, his sponsors and nana and grandad for helping him earn the title.
A nomination-based process was put forward as a candidate before the Covid-19 lockdown.
Last month, his win was announced during the online-based New Zealand Speedway Virtual Awards 2020.
“I started when I was 5 [years old], we had a friend that raced sidecars and we used to always watch them race.
“We had a [racing] bike at home so I asked if I could try it out.”
The same year, he joined the Oreti Park Speedway Club where he quickly progressed through the ranks.
“I was a bit nervous [at first]. There were lots of adults and older kids.
“It’s competitive on the track but everyone is really nice and friendly and helps each other out [off the track].”
He had since made “lifelong” friends in the club, a club which also happened to have the largest amount of junior riders of any club in New Zealand, he said.
Now in the 125cc grade, he no longer rode with brakes on his bike and had a vast collection of accolades ing winning the 2020 Speedway New Zealand Youth Gold Cup in Christchurch, the Oreti Speedway Permacoat Roofing Southland Junior Solo 125cc final, and the 2019 and 2020 Junior Solo Burt Munro Challenge title.
After being recognised by speedway representatives as a promising talent, he had no plans to give up the sport, he said.
Now in his off-season, Kadin was looking forward to getting back into training in October.
“I like sliding get the back end of the bike out… getting new paint jobs and new gear.”
With 17 junior members at the Oreti Park Speedway Club, he was hoping more young people would sign up for a practise day and join the club.
His advice for those considering the sport: “Don’t give up and give it a go.”