Supersport rider poised to make 'genuine challenge'

Back in harness after an enforced break through injury, Tapanui motorcycle racer  Seth Devereux explains to  reporter Richard Davison why stepping back can sometimes help you move forward, and how rain can be a blessing — even in motorsport.

Seth Devereux is a man who likes a bit of rain.

Humorists reading might be tempted to crack a joke or two about his West Otago upbringing, but Devereux says he has heard it all before, and the region's ''occasional'' rainy day during his youth served only to prepare him for his present day journey towards the top of his chosen sport.

New Zealand Supersport 600 Championship rider Seth Devereux, at home in his Tapanui workshop, hopes his technical insight can take him to the top of the sport. Photo: Richard Davison
New Zealand Supersport 600 Championship rider Seth Devereux, at home in his Tapanui workshop, hopes his technical insight can take him to the top of the sport. Photo: Richard Davison
Devereux (27), who sits third in the New Zealand Supersport 600 Championship after last weekend's second round in Timaru, has returned to riding in earnest this season, on the hottest of tickets.

He has taken over the Triumph Daytona 675s of last year's top pair Jake Lewis, of Rangiora, and James Hoogenboezem, of Christchurch, both of whom are competing in the Superbike class this year.

But it all started very differently for the professional mechanic and videographer who, in common with many a rural teenager in the South, fell in love with riding through motocross.

And if you love motocross, Devereux says, you soon learn to love the wet.

''I think I'm being fair when I say I'm considered one of the best wet-weather riders out there, and that's something I trace back to my early experiences in the seat.

''When you get on a bike out here in the country, you head out into the hills or on trail rides, and that's the best school there is for wet-weather riding - out in the mud and fighting to stay upright.''

On the competitive trail, that had translated into seven championship titles and seven additional New Zealand titles, the majority of podium finishes along the way chalked up in the rain.

This season, however, Devereux was determined to match his wet-tyre prowess with a full-on super-slick assault on the championship.

In dry conditions during the weekend's meeting in Timaru, he picked up a first and two seconds, a haul marred only by crashing out in the initial race after a collision.

That slip meant he now sat - by a point - in third rather than second, or even in a possible championship lead after two rounds

''Aside from the obvious, in many ways Timaru was just about the perfect weekend for us,'' he said.

''I believe I've grown and matured as a rider over the past four years, and we're in a great spot to launch a genuine challenge this year.''

But with three rounds and nine races to go, starting with a trip north to Hampton Downs in Waikato over March 2-3, there was a long road ahead.

Fortunately patience, matched with circumspection, were qualities an enforced step back from riding had helped him develop over recent years.

''I broke my neck in a training accident in 2014, which meant for eight months I could only lift 2kg max, then a long, slow rehabilitation.

''But as a person I'm pretty optimistic, so I never doubted I'd be back racing one day.''

He said the accident, and its ensuing furlough, had also yielded more than one silver lining.

''I can't just sit around, and I wasn't heading away from the track any time soon, so I spent my time picking up a few extra skills.''

That included refining his technical and mechanical expertise, and taking a wholly new direction alongside - into multimedia production.

Hence was born Braap Media, named after the archetypal motorbike noise, and today serving Devereux well both as a tool for self and team promotion, and as a source of income.

Allied with an enviable depth of technical know-how, he believed the ''total package'' he now offered yielded him and Christchurch team Mega Motorcycle Centre Racing a significant competitive edge.

''I ride and serve as crew chief for the team, and I'm also producing professional Facebook video previews and race updates, along with promotional material for the team.

''It's a lot of work, but basically it means we're crushing it across the board.''

Confidence was another asset in no short supply for a tuned-up Devereux this season, but he said there was no danger of it turning into arrogance any time soon.

''You can be flat out doing 270kmh one day, and the next you're waving to the neighbours as you make for the Blue Mountains, and nobody could care less.

''Home helps you keep your feet on the ground.''

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