Bay of Islands rider Mitchell Nield (Yamaha YZ125), giving new life to an old bike.

Neild Shows Old Bike No Barrier To Fun

12 Jun 2017

The bike cost him only $400 to buy, but Bay of Islands rider Mitchell Nield still managed to turn it into a championship winner.

The 28-year-old self-employed builder from Pakaraka, near Kaikohe, took a "freshened-up" 10-year-old Yamaha YZ125 to win the under-200cc class title at this season's New Zealand Enduro Championships.

It was a performance that must serve as rich inspiration to any dirt biker who might have an old bike lying neglected in the back of their garden shed.

The 2017 national enduro championships wrapped up near Tokoroa on Queen's Birthday Monday and, although he had contested just two rounds before this sixth and final round of the series, Nield already had a firm grip on the class win.

In truth it was probably a foregone conclusion that he would win, considering he was the only rider to contest the under-200cc class this season, but his overall race results still stacked up stunningly well and deserve recognition.

Pitted against New Zealand's off-road elite, all of them on newer and more powerful 200cc, 250cc, 350cc and 450cc bikes, Nield finished seventh overall at round one near Nelson in February. He backed that up by finishing 14th overall at round two near Whangamata just a week later.

He skipped rounds three, four and five due to family and work commitments, but his final fling at the Tokoroa event was another impressive one, with Nield finishing the day 16th overall in the field of 100 talented riders.

Nield was naturally happy to take the under-200cc class win this season, but he also finished a remarkable 18th overall.

"That wasn't too bad was it?" Nield smiled, in classic understatement.

"I have not been racing at all much this season and haven't been doing a lot of training, so I was pretty pleased with that."

Nield and his wife Sianella also have a nearly-two-year-old son, Dustin, to keep them on their toes and a second child is due now in early August, so the opportunities for Nield to race have become fewer and far between.

However, he is anticipating lining up again next year, when his 2007-model Yamaha will obviously also be another year closer to vintage status, although still a competitive machine.

"I bought it for $400 and then spent a few dollars on it to make it a lot fresher. When I got the bike, it was mostly just a frame and a box of parts. The 125cc bike is just so much fun to ride and it gave me no problems at all during the series.

"I'm not so much wound up about winning races these day. It has been a busy time for me and Sianella too since becoming parents, but, if I can find time to put the effort in, I think I'll be competitive again next season."

Words and photo by Andy McGechan,
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