Big OE has Sims keen to pursue his dream
Sixteen-year-old Hayden Sims has had taste of competing in the demanding world of speedway in the United Kingdom, and he's now fizzing for more.
The Southland rider, a finalist in the 2012-13 New Zealand Solo Competitor of the Year, got to experience what every young speedway enthusiast dreams of - to line up alongside some of the top competitors in overseas competition.
He spent 3 months living, learning and competing overseas from his base in Weymouth, England.
He hopes the trip will be a stepping stone to achieve his dream of becoming a world champion.
He said wet weather restricted the amount of racing he took part in, but otherwise he took a lot out of the time he spend immersing himself in his speedway.
"I didn't quite get the track time I was after but it was more the experience, getting the name out there and seeing how everyone does it," he said.
Sims was competing in the national league which is fringe professional and the third-tier competition in the UK.
In comparison to what he had been used to competing in New Zealand was a step up.
"I was doing quite well - in the four meetings I competed in I was scoring reasonable points, double figures each match, so that was quite good."
As well as his time on the bike, Sims also went to Germany with the USA under-21 team as an observer, which allowed him to look at some of the major tracks.
Sims' stint overseas was made possible through the help of his employers in Southland, Stabicraft, who double as one of his sponsors.
Sims works at the boat building firm as a labourer and said they were very supportive in giving him the time off in his quest to chase his speedway dream.
Sims is back at Stabicraft working but admits to already having itchy feet to again hop back on the bike, and in particular to do so overseas again.
The Oreti Park Speedway member has his eyes on a possible short stint in Australia later in the year and would also love to return to the United Kingdom to compete again next year.
That, though, all hangs on sponsorship dollars and his financial situation at the time.
- The Southland Times