An offer too good to refuse
Saturday, 1st March, 2008
Local motorbike racer Adrian Channing has scuppered plans for retirement after being offered a lucrative sponsorship by KTM Australia. Channing has made a name for himself in racing circles with strong finishes in the Australian Safari races, coming 2nd in 2004 and 3rd in 2007. The 39-year-old will compete in the race again this year under KTM's banner after the motorbike company surprised him with a generous sponsorship offer on Monday. "I was a little bit shocked because to be honest I was half way to thinking about retiring," he said.
"But it's great, it's a big call for a company to come on board and look after someone out in the bush.
"We're in the middle of nowhere and I suppose there's not too much exposure for them... so it's really appreciated." Channing said the financial pressure of competing in the race each year had been taking its toll, but would now be alleviated thanks to KTM. "It will save me a lot of money, they'll supply a bike, entry fee of $3,000 and full riding gear, boots, helmet - the full kit," he said. "It really is a big financial burden on the family, it costs between twenty and thirty thousand dollars every time I go. "For KTM to come up and offer to help out... I was over the moon." With assistance from KTM secured, Channing said he would now get back into training for this year's Safari.
The event, now known as the Australasian Safari, will be held in August with racing to be centered around the Gascoyne and Coral Coast regions of Western Australia. "I'm about to get back into it, I'm actually still recovering from a broken ankle from around five months ago," he said. "I've still got a bit of a limp but I was back on the bike last week, and from next week I'm going to be flat out until the event." The extra practice will hopefully provide a solid base for Channing to take out the event, after just falling short in previous years. "The goal is to go over there and win it, you don't go there to finish second," he said. "I'm not going to go over there and kill myself but... I've been on the podium for the last two, so it would be good to get a win. "That's what I'm aiming for personally though, there's no pressure from KTM."
A win in 2008 would undoubtedly be a triumph for the experienced racer, but Channing said he'll be keeping a lid on things until competition begins. "You like to be confident, but the race is eight days long and so much can happen, you can fall off, or have trouble with your bike," he said. "I was giving it a bit of curry for a while last year, but had some tyre problems and that cost me a bit of time. "But that's what it's like, something like a blown tyre can wreck an event. "Basically you aim to finish and to finish well, and a win is a bonus. You don't want to be too cocky."