George's BMX dream trip
GEORGE Cole has never been to New Zealand, let alone been confronted by the haka.
But that is all about to change.
Along with his father Tom, the champion BMX rider will be representing Australia against New Zealand on October 22-23.
George will be competing in the Trans-Tasman BMX challenge as part of the Australian Mighty 11's team which is coached by his father.
According to George's father, his son is counting down the days until he boards the plane to Gisborne on the North Island.
"We fly out to New Zealand on Saturday and it will be George's first big trip overseas," Tom told the Examiner earlier this week.
"I know he's very excited and it just hit him on the weekend when he started packing his bags."
The Trans-Tasman Test series is a unique event and is the only race series which uses a team format.
In traditional BMX racing, cutting off fellow competitors is illegal but in a team event format, it's all part of the tactics.
"This type of racing is illegal but the rules are bent in this case," Tom said.
"It's all about getting as many Australian riders across the line in front of the Kiwi competitors.
"There are seven riders in the team and as a coach you have to be on your game ... tactics come into it.
"It's more like a game of chess."
Tom, who coached the Australian team in 2010, added the trip is not all about winning.
"I went over there last year as a coach and it was pretty awesome," he said.
"But it is not just all about the racing, it's a real cultural experience as well.
"Riders are billeted out with New Zealand families."
For George, who is regarded as one of the best up-and-coming BMX riders in Australia, it will be his first time competing in the Mighty 11's team.
The event is strictly for riders who are 11-years old and is one of the few events BMX riders get to represent their country.
And as coach, Tom knows all too well how a good preparation leading up to the series can give his riders an added edge.
"I've certainly done my research. It's amazing what you can find out and view on the internet," he said.
"The track in Gisborne has a pretty big start hill and is different to most tracks in Australia.
"Tracks in New Zealand are built by Americans ... they have been described as the ultimate BMX tracks."