Gold medal haul for dirt biker
By RODNEY STEVENS
AFTER winning four gold and one silver medal at the Pan Pacific Masters Games (PPMG) earlier this month motocross rider Jack Hawken could hardly muster the strength to climb on to the podium.
Held at the Reedy Creek motocross track on the Gold Coast, riders in the motocross division competed under lights until after 10pm resulting in a lot of weary bodies come presentation time.
Hawken said by the time riders were presented with their medals at 11pm few actually stood on the podium.
Hawken claimed gold in the modern open and unlimited 12 lap-4 man team event, the EVO and pre-75 12 lap-3 man team event, the EVO 250cc and the EVO unlimited and silver in the modern over 250cc two-stroke-450cc four-stroke classes.
This is not the first medal haul for the Jackadgery rider who has taken out two gold, two silver and two bronze at the past two Pan Pac Masters.
An extremely modest man, Hawken said he was pleased to ride well and win the medals but was not a fan of the limelight.
"I'm stoked that I rode so well to win four gold and a silver medal," he said.
"But I just try and get up there, get the medal and get out of there as quick as I can."
What makes Hawken's success more remarkable is that he won three of his gold medals in the EVO divisions riding a 26-year-old motorcycle.
"I bought my Suzuki RM250 new in 1980," he said.
"I've got a sentimental attachment to my old Suzuki... I just love riding it."
Last time he rode at the challenging Reedy Creek track Hawken said he broke the back wheel and bent the rear shocks on his old air-cooled, drum-braked Suzuki.
"I took it easy at first this time... it's hard work compared to riding the new bikes."
Hawken also competed on his much newer Suzuki RMZ450 four-stoke machine, taking out a gold and a silver medal, in an incident-free race meeting for the South Grafton Ex-Services Motorcycle Club member.
"I had no crashes at all and there were a lot of fast riders competing on the modern bikes."
Hawken said he adjusted well to riding under lights in only his third time at the Reedy Creek track.
"Once you adjust to the fact that it's night time and remember not to look into the lights it's just like riding in the day time," he said.
With his third masters games done and dusted Hawken said he would compete in his fourth in 2008.
"I will be back competing at the Masters Games in 2008 in the 45-49 years class to defend my titles."
Hawken was one of 10,000 athletes from all over Australia and 20 overseas countries who competed in 38 sports at This year's Pan Pacific Masters Games.
Athletes ranged in age from 25 to a 92-year-old great-grandmother who took gold in the pool.