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Van Gisbergen's talent keeps him on winning


New Zealand motorsport's rising star Shane Van Gisbergen can't seem to help himself - on Sunday he claimed yet another major victory, this time on his ATV Motocross bike.

Reigning New Zealand Formula Ford champion Van Gisbergen got his competition start on four-wheel ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) bikes though most mainstream motorsport fans know of him as a result of his meteoric rise through the ranks of the Formula First and Formula Ford single-seater classes.

It is a mark of his rare and precocious talent however that the 17-year-old from Auckland's Manukau City is as well known - and regarded - on the off-road ATV MX circuit as he is on the motorsport one.

Evidence of his ability came once again over the weekend when he dominated another round (this time the final) of the Franklin ATV Club Inc's annual Winter MX Series at Mercer.

Running a Yamaha YFZ450F quad with the familiar number 97 the youngster won every race he started to seal the series title with 225 points, 41 more than second placed Mark Kiely and 45 more than third placed Daniel Hickman.

Where for the past two years Van Gisbergen has had to throttle back on his ATV MX activities because of commitments with the various Formula First and Ford 'Winter Series' this year he has been able to devote all his energies to his 'other career' - with typically spectacular results.

In early June he finished fourth overall at the South Island ATV MX Championship meeting at Renwick, then in July he finished a close second to NZ#1 Quinton Palmer (after being equal on points at the end of the second day) at the New Zealand Mini TT Championship meeting at Kuratau in the central North Island.

Suffice to say he also dominated the first and second rounds of the Franklin ATV Club's Winter Series and has won ATV races at recent open MX meetings at Taupo and Tokoroa.

All this effort means that Van Gisbergen has never been fitter - a fact which augurs well for the coming summer season when he takes the next major step in his motor racing career - to the Toyota Racing Series.

Though before then he has one more major ATV MX commitment, the 2006 New Zealand Championship meeting at Amberley in October.

Last year, at his first National Championship meeting in the Senior ranks the talented teenager finished fourth overall, showing plenty of promise but not quite having the fitness of battle-hardened Seniors like New Zealand ATV MX legend Ian Ffitch.

This year he has worked on his fitness on and off the track so he heads south with high hopes.

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