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Kiwi Yamaha Girl Takes It To The Australians

New Zealand motocross ace Roma Edwards has been coached by one of the best and now she's put those lessons into action by taking on and beating some of the best in Australia.

The 16-year-old from Motueka has regularly been coached by Kiwi former Grand Prix motocross star Josh Coppins and this year decided she was ready to tackle the senior Australian Women’s Motocross Championships at Murray Bridge, South Australia, the host city located about 75 kilometres east-southeast of the state's capital city, Adelaide.

As a year 12 correspondence school pupil, it allowed her the freedom to travel overseas to race, although she also knew that the competition would be tough. "I wanted to get a feel for where I was at. Josh Coppins helped organise a Yamaha YZ125 for me through WBR racing and dad came with me, armed with a pit board and a handful of tools that he could carry on the plane. "I had a massive over-the-handlebars crash in practice and luckily I was only bruised. "I got a seventh place in the first points race by riding carefully. I then managed a fifth, sixth and fifth, giving me a sixth placing overall for the two rounds. "Whilst in Australia, I also raced a qualifier round for the King of MX in Leeston and topped the podium with an overall win. "Just last weekend, dad and I went back to Australia, to Nowra in New South Wales, to race against the top women in Australia," she said, with at least three of those lining up alongside her in Australia possessing vast international experience, these women having recently raced on the world championships scene in Europe.

"I did a bit more preparation, riding a few different tracks on our way there. I managed to improve my overall to a fourth place in the State Titles at the King of MX," she said, finishing behind Australian internationals Meg Rutledge, Jess Moore and Emma Milsevich. "I am really happy with how I’m riding and confident that I can continue on my YZ125 against the more powerful 250cc bikes. "I am back home now to work on losing a few more seconds off my lap times and catch up on some school work, but it has been an awesome experience." Moore visited New Zealand in September last year, winning the senior national women's title while she was here. Edwards won the junior women's, 12-16 years', 125cc/250cc class title at that same event near Timaru.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan