Fresh challenge for rider

Avalon Biddle on two wheels, which is her usual motorsport. Photo: Aaron Staples Photography.
Avalon Biddle on two wheels, which is her usual motorsport. Photo: Aaron Staples Photography.
Superbike racer Avalon Biddle is going into uncharted territory.

Biddle (28), the first woman to win New Zealand’s much-coveted Supersport 600 title and two-time winner of the FIM European Women’s Cup, will line up in the Otago Rally next month as a celebrity guest driver.

She is making the switch from two wheels to four and will drive an H6 Subaru at next month’s rally, run by Jeff Judd’s Magnum Motorsport team, based in Christchurch.

Biddle said she could not believe it when she was asked to join the rally and though nervous, was still excited to take part.

"I have no expectations on how I will go. All I want to do is finish. But it is a very big event to get invited to and something I am really excited about," she said.

"I went out on a trail bike in the weekend but I have no rallying experience at all.

"I have been involved in motorsport my whole life but I have never done anything like this. I did a few laps once at Pukekohe but this is completely new."

She will have Grant Marra as her co-driver.

Avalon Biddle. Photo: Geoff Ridder.
Avalon Biddle. Photo: Geoff Ridder.
Biddle, from Christchurch, said there are some similarities between riding on two wheels and driving a rally car.

The steering of the vehicles was similar around corners, as was keeping traction, having to concentrate and the mechanical needs of the vehicles.

She was set to spend some time in the rally car the weekend before the Otago event, which was one bonus.

It was a real privilege to line up in such a prestigious event.

"My competitive spirit certainly hopes for a seamless transition, but no doubt it’ll be a challenge.

“I can’t wait to see how the racing skills I’ve developed on two wheels transfer to four."

Otago Rally spokesman Roger Oakley said the rally was delighted to welcome another homegrown motorsport star to this year’s event.

"We were looking for an opportunity to showcase our amazing sport by inviting a high profile sportsperson from another code.

"Avalon stood out to us not only for her achievements in motorcycle racing, but for her passion and enthusiasm to have a go.

"She will be a wonderful ambassador.”

Former Superbikes champion Aaron Slight is also lining up in the race, also making his first foray into rallying.

Motorsport New Zealand and Otago Rally have developed a contingency plan to run the event under Level 2 Covid-19 restrictions if needed.

The Otago Rally is partly supported by Dunedin City Council premier event funding.

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