Napier Sk8Zone manager Pat McIvor was a bit weary but all smiles yesterday as he reflected on a day which saw Hawke's Bay's best young scooter riders take on and go competitively wheel-to-wheel with Australasia's best.
"Our guys can hold their own - we did really well," he said, pointing out that several local riders not only triumphed or placed highly at the New Zealand Scooter Championships on Saturday, but they were clearly competitive against top riders from the main centres - and a couple of Australia's very best who flew in from Melbourne to compete.
"The way this is moving ahead then next year it will become more international, and it could end up being Hawke's Bay versus the world," he said with a smile.
Among the local riders who stood out were Sean McFarland and Angus McKenzie of Napier who each won their classes.
Sean took out the 13 years age group and led a winning trifecta of Bay riders, with Donald Aston of Havelock North and Zane Woolhouse taking second and third.
Mr McIvor said McFarland then entered the open class finals to have a shot at the top.
"He was pretty much the man all day," he said, but added that while nudging closer to what would have been a remarkable major win he had a fall and came in third.
"But he did so well we [the Napier Skating Club] want to get him to the Australian finals."
Young McKenzie knows a bit about Australian competition as he had been riding there since his family moved from Mahia across the ditch. But they have returned to settle in the Bay and in the 14-15 age group McKenzie came out on top.
The competition, which involved about 60 riders and took place before a packed rink of about 400 people, left McKenzie fizzing.
He told Mr McIvor it was "the best" contest he had ever taken part in.
Another to shine and hoist the winning flag for the Bay was Alex Madsen of Napier who kept her girls open class title after taking it last year.
Havelock North's Darryl Steffensen had been hoping to snatch the 16 and up title but like last year had to take second place (equal with one of the Australian competitors) to an Auckland rider.
"A lot of people don't regard this as a sport but it very much is," Mr McIvor said.
These kids are here all day, practising and just getting better and sharper at it. They put in so many hours."