Salt flats speed lures young mum
Nelson's Haidee Channings only got her own road bike a few months ago but she plans to be riding Bonneville's salt flats this year as part of a Kiwi invasion in the manner of Burt Munro.
She has been accepted as one of four New Zealand motorcyclists making up Flying Kiwi Motorcycles in August's BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials.
Team leader Phil Garrett says Channings is an ideal candidate and he is pleased to have her on the team. Garrett was the project director for the successful 2005 Flying Kiwi World Land Speed Record Team that set a new Sidecar record in Canterbury in 2005. Their flying kilometre record of 272 kilometres an hour still stands today.
The Stoke solo mother, who works part-time, raises her 6-year-old daughter Jordyn and is studying for a Diploma in Rehabilitation, is fizzing at the prospect of riding the salt.
"I was inspired by the World's Fastest Indian movie and Burt Munro and I wanted to ride on the salt flats but I knew I could not afford to do it on my own. When I heard of the Flying Kiwi team's plans I knew I had to apply and when Phil told me I was on the team I was so excited.
"It's an opportunity to fulfil a long-term dream and I am absolutely determined to follow it through.
"It's wicked. I talk about it all the time with Jordy and everyone I meet."
Channings said her daughter loved motorbikes, has already made a presentation to her school class about her mum's Bonneville plans and wanted to sleep in their garage when the road bike first arrived.
"She's my inspiration and I want to be a role model for her.
"And that is what this trip is about. It's not just about the ride but personal growth, inspiring people, being a role model and showing others they can achieve anything they want if they really try. I'm going to do it - I'll do everything in my power to get it."
Climbing aboard the 200hp 1300cc Kawasaki Turbo, which Mr Garrett first raced at Bonneville in 2008, will be a big step for the 26-year-old who is still on her learner's licence on her Kawasaki Ninja 250. But she grew up riding dirt bikes on her family's farm and is more worried about getting through LAX airport than racing the flats with no brakes and where traction is down to 40 per cent of what riders enjoy on a dry road.
To reach the goal she has set her heart on, Miss Channing has to raise around $18,000 which will be her share of the cost of the trip, shipping over the two bikes the team will run, fees, accommodation and flights.
"I'll raise the money through sponsorship, by getting the word out there, putting proposals together and talking to people. Phil and the team are helping me but I still need to do a lot of work myself, I have learned so much already and I know I can do it.
"But my journey isn't going to stop because I'll probably want to go back to the salt again after next year.
"I think I've caught salt fever and I haven't even got there yet."
Channings was to speak about her dream road to Bonneville at the Port Nelson Street Races today.
People can follow the team through its Facebook page: Flying Kiwi Motorcycles, and Miss Channings' journey through: Haidee's road to the Bonneville Salt Flats.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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