17 Oct
17 October 2017

Manfeild minibike action broadcast

THE eleventh stanza of a national annual secondary students’ miniature motorcycle racing event at Manfeild today and tomorrow can be seen as something new – as in, something new to be seen on a screen.

For the first time a national event that has massively reinvigorated flagging student interest in manual trade courses is being webcast.

Capturing the action is a Hamilton-based specialist, CTAS, which has plenty of experience of filming motorcycling racing at Manfeild, through live broadcasting of Victoria Motorcycle Club winter series rounds this year, as well as other sports including jet sprints and rugby league.

The scale might have diminished but the minibike job is a sizeable undertaking attests CTAS principal Grant Collingwood.

“It’s easier because they are slower, but there is still a lot going on. The good races are when the riders are bunched up, because then you can get a lot in the same frame.”

A one-man band operating two cameras – one remotely - and editing gear, Collingwood is happy to provide his services and the live broadcast free of charge as a sponsorship.

“If it helps me to build a business then of course it is good for me but it’s also good to help. There are lots of keen riders and they all have friends and family who might not have been able to get here to watch.

The participants’ enthusiasm is also an impetus: “Some of these kids are going to grow up to be engineers or motorcycle racers.”

Achieving a webcast is another reflection of the growing strength of the MiniMoto Grand Prix, which came about as result of a motorbike-mad Feilding High School teacher musing that students would love the challenge of building and racing bikes as an official school project that provided NCEA unit standards for their efforts.

The genius of that idea is easy to see at the track today and tomorrow; in the multitude of machines created in school engineering workshops and the obvious high level of interest from their builders, riders and supporters.

A programme that began in 2008 as a regional effort and an afternoon on the track has now grown into a much larger undertaking, with hundreds of students competing under guidance from two-wheeled motorsport’s governing body at a venue with the impressive credential of being host track for the nation’s largest domestic motor-racing event, the New Zealand Grand Prix.

Riders this year come from two Palmerston North schools - St Peter’s College and Freyberg High School – plus Feilding High School, Taihape Area School and Pahiatua’s Tararua College. Also involved are Whanganui High School, Spotswood College in New Plymouth and two Poverty Bay schools, Lytton High and Gisborne Boys’.

Racing covers several classes and weight divisions, from 50cc two-stroke bikes through to four-stroke sidecars whose status as the quickest rides will likely be further enhanced from chicanes being removed from the layout for the first time this year.

Manfeild Park chief executive Julie Keane says the racing is always highly enjoyable.

“These might be small bikes but they are ridden to the absolute max and the quality of racing can be awesome.

“What adds extra delight is that so many parents come to watch – we have a lot of dads helping sons in the pits. We have girls racing, too, and they’re just as good as the boys.”

The webcast can be found on CTASLive.co.nz

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Photo: Grant Collingwood is webcasting the MiniMoto GP action at Manfeild.