Horsepower not horses for Bateman
By ADAM HICKS
GROWING up on a property at Port Macquarie, Rebecca Bateman's dad made a decision that shaped her future.
"When I was nine-years-old we had the option of getting a bike or a horse," Bateman, now 21 said.
"Dad thought 'if I get a horse and the kids get over it, I have to keep feeding it'."
So Dad bought the bike and literally kick-started a career that has seen his daughter capture two Australian titles.
"I don't think he thought I'd come this far though ... that I'd be riding for 12 years," she said.
"I think he thought we'd just have a bit of a ride around the farm and get over it."
Bateman, now of Lismore Heights, has claimed the Australian Super Motard championships for the past two years and began her title defence with a resounding win last weekend.
Racing at Sydney's Oran Park on Sunday, Bateman won round one of the 2008 season, taking out all four races.
Riding a SMRR 450cc Husqvana as part of the Husky Chix Racing team, Bateman set a new women's class lap record of 1.05.95 and then followed it up with a personal best time of 1.03.84.
But for Bateman, the thrill comes more from pushing boundaries than from winning.
"I think it's the adrenaline rush of being able to get out there and do something that's quite technical knowing that if you make a mistake you can have huge crash," she said.
"Your mind has got to be in it.
"And the speed. When you're coming into a corner and your pegs are clicking and banging on the ground and you think 'oh my god, I'm pushing things here' and you want to see how far you can push it."
There have been times where she pushed it too far.
"I've broken both collar bones, and re-broken them as well. I've dislocated my left shoulder and fractured three bones in my left hand," she said.
The Super Motard, which requires dirt bikes with slick tyres to race over a course that's a quarter motocross and three quarters bitumen, is a new concept in Australia.
"I was riding motocross when my sponsor Husqvana approached me and said I should give it a try," she said.
"So I did but I didn't really like it at first.
"Then when I got my factory ride, I had another go and it was so much better and easier to ride. I just loved it.
"It was the best thing ever, being able to combine two things that are so popular and two things that are really enjoyable to do in one sport."