Sean Hambrook has been thrust unexpectedly into the limelight during this year’s PowerNet Tour of Southland.
The talented 18-year-old is riding his first Tour, alongside brother Kieran, 21, in the Ascot Park Hotel-Kia Motors-NZ Bike Magazine team and has found himself within the top 10 riders most of the week.
He goes into the final day in seventh place, 2minutes 26seconds back from the Tour leader Carter Jones and, while there is obviously a lot of strength involved in that, he is also crediting the race circumstances.
“It’s really come out of a bit of good fortune,” he said.
“On the Bluff stage we wanted a name in the break and it was me. I’m a worker really, I was here to help the team out where and when I could but through luck, or whatever you want to call it, the break stayed and we got a good time. All of a sudden I was the GC rider.
I didn’t expect it, but you make the most of it.”
The Nelson-based brothers are enjoying their week and admit the racing experience they share is certainly having an advantage.
“It’s awesome racing together, we wouldn’t have raced in another team,” Kieran said.
“When we ride we are pretty serious, but there is definitely some banter around the dinner table. We both know each other’s’ strengths and weaknesses so we work well together.”
Sean said he had heard the “horror stories” about the Tour from Kieran, who has ridden it twice before and, rather than put him off, it only motivated him more to take on the challenge as soon as he turned 18.
“I’d heard about the snow and the horizontal rain, but it’s been pretty good this week,” Sean said.
“(The PowerNet Tour of) Southland is the pinnacle race in New Zealand. It’s one where you can really test yourself if you want to make a name for yourself.”
Whilst Sean’s rise up the leaderboard had come out of the blue to him, Kieran said that was one of the best things about the tour – its potential to surprise.
“One thing about Southland is that it is always so unpredictable,” he said.
“We’re lucky we’ve got a really good team riding for Ascot Park Hotel-Kia Motors-NZ Bike Magazine. There’s heaps of experience and a lot of younger guys coming through with good engines.”
While the PowerNet Tour of Southland is always full of uncertainties, one thing that may be easier to predict is that the Hambrook brothers have a very bright future in the Tour in years to come.