The Australian Team consists of three male representative and three female representatives. The FIM Trial des Nations Australia Team is as follows:
Australia Team Manager Phil Whittle went into detail about the Team, what results are possible, the honour of competing for Australia and what drives him to continue as Team Manager.
Whittle firstly went in depth about the Men's Team “It's the same as last year which we are very happy about, Kyle Middleton is the number one rider in Australia and has been for about six years now, he's an exceptional individual. Chris Bayles had an excellent last year and at the Aussies finished second only to Kyle. He has increased his workload and is looking strong. Connor Hogan is a valuable rider and could be a star of the future. My prediction is that he could be a future Australian champion.”
For the Women’s Team; “Sarah Chivers and Sofie Kraft were on the team last year, I know for a fact that they’ve both been practicing very hard to raise their level of competitiveness, so hopefully they will be better suited to the European trials environment. Sarah has been working very hard on her wellbeing, health and riding and Sophie has been doing the same. From what I’ve heard Nicole Casey has stepped up and is riding extremely well in Queensland, so we’re ecstatic to see her join the team.”
Whittle discussed whether its possible to set targets for the Australian Team at the moment “It’s very hard to set targets, we are competing against some phenomenal talent in our group which is the Trophy International Class. Competition will come from the Americans, Germans and the Czechs. Those nations are usually the top teams within our group. We always have a tussle with the Americans in particular! A podium is possible if things go our way but it will all come down to who can perform on the day and whether the sections suit us.”
There are several draws to joining the Australian Team. “The highest accolade in Australia is to win the Australian Championship, but only one rider can do that in a calendar year for each class. The next best thing is to be part of the Australian Team and represent your country; it’s a huge honour for these young people. It’s also a privilege for myself as I’ve been Team Manager since 2011, so its now my seventh year.”
Whittle has been the Australian Team Manager since 2011 and loves his role “I have a great rapport with the riders and I enjoy the role thoroughly! I’m heavily involved with trials. I went along as a spectator and a helper in 2009, got the bug and I love helping the riders! The motivation is simply that I love it.
Top Australian trials rider and Australia Team competitor Kyle Middleton shared his excitement; "I have a huge passion for the Trial des Nations and looking forward to competing in Spain once again. I’m also looking forward to working with our long term Team Manager Phil Whittle, he’s been instrumental for the last few year’s results and pulling the team together. Hopefully we can improve on the result from last year as the team as a whole has come a long way."
MA wishes the Australia Team luck for their preparation ahead of the FIM Trial des Nations!
Photos: FIM Trial des Nations 2016