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NEW ZEALAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
by Jason Donnell

Two months ago Tony D (Haro's Team Manager) asked if I wanted to go to New Zealand for their annual National Championship. I had heard a lot of good things about New Zealand for a long time so I jumped at the chance. I had been looking forward to the trip ever since.

Kevin Tomko and I left Saturday evening and arrived on Monday morning in Auckland, New Zealand. Tony D, Ryan Nyquist and Dave Mirra came in Monday afternoon, as they spent the three prior days in Australia

Kevin and I met up with Ash (the track operator/organizer of the whole trip) at the airport. We loaded the bags and were on our way. About 5 minutes into the trip(and about a split second after Kevin turned off his video camera), we witness this crazy car accident right next to us.

A short while later we had breakfast at The America's Cup Village in the Auckland harbor. Apparently The America Cup is a sail boat race and is New Zealand's claim to fame because they won the race the last year and are going to host it next year.

After breakfast we headed to our hotel were we would be staying for a night and to my approval it turned out to be a three story four bedroom suit. Kevin chilled and watched My Cousin Vinny while I went on a solo street ride to check out the city and a skate park Ash had told me about. The skate park was pretty cool and I came back about an hour later.

A short while after that Tony D and the boys showed up and we went to lunch. Dave, Kevin and I wanted to go to a gym and get our pump on so we went with this cool guy named Coxy. Coxy was going to document our whole trip on video for the New Zealand sports channel. After dinner all of us ended up at a bar and shot the shit. I talked to Dave for about an hour on the progression of BMX in general and how cool it is. He also told me that even if he wasn't making a dime off riding his bike that he would still ride as hard as he does now because it is his passion. Needless to say I thought that was pretty cool. After a few drinks and little bit of trash talking we brainstormed a Ryan Nyquist vs Dave Mirra one on one BMX race. Ryan has only raced a handful of times and Dave raced twice in 1984.

The next morning Dave, Ryan and myself did a live interview for the New Zealand alternative radio station. The DJ was asking us all the wrong questions and it was pretty funny. Our next stop was this slingshot bungy cage contraption that Ryan and Dave had to do for the New Zealand sports channel. Kevin, Tony and I went on it as well and I felt like puking the rest of the day.

Ryan and I were itching to ride so on our way out of town we all stopped off at these trails we had heard about. Word must have gotten out because there were about 40 people waiting for our arrival. The trails were really good. They were fairly big with about seven different runs with transfers, rhythm and really vertical lips. The problem was that if you bailed out you ended up in a hole as Dave found out a few times. On Kevin's first run he broke his pedal. Ryan and myself were riding good and did everything there and got our fix. We signed autographs and were off.

About three hours later and a few failed puke attempts (I was still car sick from the bungy thing), we arrived in Tarruanga, the town the race was in. We checked in to our rooms and started riding in the Hotel parking lot. Dave was doing some awesome flat land tricks and then we all tried manualing around the whole hotel. I was the first one to make it all the way around and then Kevin out did me and did a lap and a half.

Later that night we went to the BMX track and rode for an hour or so. The track was pretty good but the scenery around it was even better. The whole track was surrounded by grass and about a hundred feet from the ocean and rolling green hills with the sun setting in the background. I had never seen anything like it. A local race was going on and all the people were so stoked to see us. I knew Ryan and Dave were celebrities but to see the kids expressions on there faces verified that even more. Most of the kids have never seen American riders in person.

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