As they arrived back on Australian soil, Team Australia for the 2018 FIM Oceania Trial Championship proudly returned the Championship Cup and Shield to its rightful home. Made up of three members; Kevin Zarczynski, Sarah Chivers and Tom Woodhouse, Team Australia displayed true grit and perseverance as they faced tough conditions and competition right to the end.
Arriving in Christchurch for Day One of the 2018 FIM Oceania Trial Championship, Team Australia’s Kevin Zarczynski dominated to lead the solo class. Although incurring a time penalty, Zarczynski remained comfortably ahead of his competition, which in turn helped set up the team for success. Junior class rider, Tom Woodhouse, also started off the Championship well, landing in second place overall. Representing in the women’s class was Sarah Chivers, who tackled challenges throughout the day that impacted her overall score, landing her in third position.
“We overcame many challenges over the weekend, the first being that it was a three-day competition, which is unusual for the Tom and Sarah who have never ridden a three-day trial before. Second, the event was held at three different locations which is very different for Trial, because normally the entire event is held at one location. Third, we were in streams all day. Everything was wet and a totally foreign environment for our team who are well practiced in drier conditions,” explained Zarczynski.
Regardless of these difficulties, the team continued to bring the fire in Day two, with Woodhouse maintaining his position in second place overall. But eyes were on Chivers who overcame the terrain to move on up to second place in the Women’s class.
Coming into the third and final day of the Championship, Australia and New Zealand went toe to toe in a fight right to the finish for the Championship Cup and Shield. Zarczynski maintained a dominant lead throughout the day to score first place, but it was the perseverance of his two team mates, Woodhouse and Chivers, that saw Team Australia bring the glory back home. Woodhouse claimed third position for the day in the Junior’s class, whilst Chivers fought her way right to the top to dominate her rivals and take out first place in the Women’s class.
It was a Cinderella story moment for Chivers and her team as she scored that top position and helped restore the confidence she may have lost on Day One!
“I was a little bit worried coming into the Championship, because I haven’t been able to compete as much this year. And the first day was such a shock! But by the last day I was really pleased with my riding and it ended up helping us make it over the line,” explained Chivers.
Zarczynski could not be happier with the team’s end result, stating “it was a chance to have a new group of young riders that were competing in their first International Trial. Each member contributed to our overall win thanks to their focus and perseverance.
“It was all to play for on the last day. Our team improved throughout the weekend, especially in the streams, and eventually progressed to be on par with the local New Zealand riders. This was in particular for Sarah, who lost the first two days, but progressed enough to succeed in winning the last day,” highlighted Zarczynski.
Coming into the Championship with a long family history of motorcycle sport, Woodhouse was thrilled with their efforts throughout the weekend. “I was really excited coming in the event but having to adapt to a different bike hindered my initial efforts. I also found the streams slippery and difficult to handle but eventually I found the right grip and the rest is history,” explained Woodhouse.
In what ended up being an epic International showdown, the comradery and hospitality displayed by our New Zealand counterparts was nothing short of excellent. “The New Zealand community was super supportive throughout the weekend. If there was a punctured tyre, everyone rallied together to find a replacement, get it fitted and help the rider on their way,” explained Zarczynski.
All results from the 2018 FIM Oceania Trial Championships can be found via the Pioneer Trials website.