Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

GOING FOR GOLD; Enduro Racer to Portugal

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

GOING FOR GOLD; Enduro Racer to Portugal

Article excerpt

Byline: Matthew Lee

GYMPIE motorcycle enduro competitor Nick Beattie cut his teeth on the international scene last year when he travelled to Greece for the 2008 International Six day Enduro event.

Finishing fourth in his class and collecting a coveted gold medal (awarded to competitors who finish overall in the top 10 per cent), Beattie returned home surprised with just how successful his foray into the international event was.

So significant was his achievement, the Gympie Sportsman Association named him Gympie's best athlete in 2008 at the Sports Star of the Year Awards.

Now, the Gympie motorcycle enthusiast is in the middle of preparations to do it all again when the event is staged in Portugal this year.

The headline event is often referred to as the Olympic Games of the motorcycle discipline of endurance racing and will be held over October 12-17 in Figieura da Foz, one and a half hours from Portugal's capital, Lisbon.

Conducted over six days, the first five days involve competing along various sections of the trail, in addition to highly demanding special tests. The format is similar to that of rally car racing.

The sixth and final day consists of a final motocross race where competitors do battle in a make-or-break stage of the event that historically has seen some of the race's firm favourites come unstuck.

Beattie says he has an ambitious outlook to the event.

"I hope to finish with a gold medal and go one better by finishing in the top three in my class," he said.

"But I would be happy to finish top five in my class. Either way, it will be tough against the world's best."

Beattie is one of 13 competitors representing Australia, and believes it to be one of the biggest honours in his career.

"It's always special to represent your country," he said.

The talented rider missed out on automatic qualification for the event when he had bike problems during qualifying rounds in Australia. …

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