Friday, February 14, 2020
Toowoomba Motorcycle Club’s Ebony Nielsen has her eyes on a podium finish for next weekend’s round 1 and 2 of the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship, presented by MXstore, in Toowoomba and wants locals to turn out in force to support the local club and herself.
The 21-year-old privateer, based out of Wooroolin in Queensland, finished third at the Toowoomba round last year in the Women’s class, and hopes to take the chequered flag aboard her KTM 250EXCF next weekend, February 22 and 23.
“I think it would blow people away by the setup in the middle of the bush, it is literally a mini-city in the middle of the bush,” Ebony said.
“It’s not just people riding through the bush, it’s full-blown racing and people from all over Australia do this event.
“It would be awesome to see people out there that aren’t involved in the sport, even those in motocross to come out and watch what we do.
“I think a lot of people would be surprised about what actually happens as these events are bigger than your local motocross.”
With the backing of US motorcycling gear company, FocusX Gear, the 2019 championship 5th placegetter while holding down a full-time job with the Bendigo Bank, has set some significant goals she wants to kick in 2020.
“I’d love to get more podiums and mix it with those top three girls again and a top three is definitely a goal,” an excited Ebony said.
“This year I’m also doing the four day for the first time and I’m looking forward to that.
“Going forward I’d like to win the Championship, and I think it would be awesome to have the opportunity to race overseas.
“That’s not something that comes easy to you, you’ve got to work for it and all us girls put in a lot of hard work and only some make it – that’s the ultimate goal to get overseas and compete in some races.
“You see the likes of (Australians) Tayla Jones and Mackenzie Tricker racing overseas at the moment, how awesome would it be to be racing with them.”
Ebony has ridden motorbikes since the age of 5 and started out in motocross at age 6 before switching to enduro racing.
She took some time off competing and returned to enduro in 2011 and hasn’t looked back.
“I’ve spent many years as a privateer, it’s hard to work full time and then do everything before and after work and then go and mix with these girls who ride all the time.
“I’d love to ride on a team in Australia, as it would allow me to ride more, train more and get better and be able to do those things.”
While most people are fast asleep, Ebony and her partner Adam Giles – who also competes, are at the gym at 3.45am training before heading to work and then fitting in bike training late in the evening.
“I’ve been busy during the off-season as I’ve just got my coaching licence as well, so I’ve been doing coaching and a lot of on bike training in the afternoons and every weekend and gym work,” she said.
“I haven’t had a break really and I follow Adam around a lot as well, so he’s been dragging me through the bush and heat as well.
“I’m hoping when I come back to off road again the training has paid off.”
Ebony is stoked to have the support of new American motorcycle gear company – FocusX Gear.
“They are relatively new, they had sponsorship opportunities and they are actually sponsoring Adam as well and I’m really happy to promote them, as I think if a business supports you, you have to support them,” she said.
Juggling full-time work, early morning and evening training sessions is just part of the jigsaw puzzle for Ebony to be able to stand on the podium in 2020.
Unlike road racing, motocross or speedway where riders can regularly train on the tracks they are going to compete on, enduro riders don’t get to practice on the track they race on so do a track walk on the Friday prior to race day to work out the track conditions.
Friday track inspections are vital but for Ebony, it is not always possible having to juggle a full-time job.
“I can’t always get off work on the Friday, so I don’t always get the chance to do the track walk,” she said.
“To prepare I try and spend as much time in the bush as possible riding, riding different tracks and getting use to the track changing each lap.
“I look for anything that is dangerous and remember what’s dangerous, if I remember what’s dangerous, everywhere else you know you can try and go for it.
“I’m more use to the sprint formats, but I do prefer the enduro format as you get to spend all day on the bike.”
Ebony has spent part of the off-season perfecting her grass track speed and technique.
“It’s not my strong point, and something I’ve been training on,” she said.
“I’ve ripped up mum and dads paddock trying to keep it smooth as the girls are really fast on the grass track.”
It is the hard terrain, rocky hills and technical tracks that Ebony excels.
“I love that stuff, Toowoomba was probably one of our toughest rounds last year and that’s where I did best last year.”
Ebony does feel the local Toowoomba pressure going into round 1 and 2 of the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship, presented by MXstore.
“There’s people at the club that might have a few expectations, not having raced in a few months and being the first round and at home there is added pressure.
“We’ve changed things up a bit over the last few weeks, I’m at the gym at 3.45am, then go to work, and am getting some afternoon riding in, I’ve been training really hard, so there is not a whole lot of the day left when I get home.”
On the home front, the competition between Ebony and partner Adam Giles is strong. Adam the 2019 AORC 2 Stroke Cup Champion also raced overseas last year.
On being the better rider, “I told him that I am in the gym the other morning and he said don’t come complaining to me when I get second place, and I said I’d like to see you get a second place”, Ebony said laughing.
“It’s great to have the support of Adam and I support him when he competes.
“He feels the exact same way as me, and anything I have trouble with he helps me, he’s had a big AORC background previously and he races in these events that are massive so he knows exactly how to deal with how I am feeling.
“We always have each other’s back, he knows what I need without me saying it, and visa-versa.
“He’s my motivator to get out of bed at 3am and go to the gym.”
To catch all the action of the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship, presented by MXstore, next weekend head to 393 Willis Rd, Meringandan QLD 4352 (Cooby Dam) Toowoomba.
2020 AUSTRALIAN OFF-ROAD
Round 1 & 2: Toowoomba, QLD 22 – 23 February 2020
Round 3 & 4: Dungog, NSW 14 – 15 March 2020
Round 5 & 6: Nowra, NSW 18 – 19 April 2020
Round 7 & 8: SA 1 – 2 August 2020
Round 9 & 10: Omeo, VIC 19 – 20 September 2020
Round 11 & 12: Wynyard, TAS 17 –18 October 2020
Stay up to date with all the happenings of the 2020 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship by visiting the AORC website at www.aorc.org.au , Facebook or @aorc on Instagram. Don’t forget to download the Official AORC app via Team App. It’s as easy as download Team App and search ‘AORC’!