World champion track cycling sprinter Eddie Dawkins is used to going fast.
But it did not prepare him for an adrenalin-filled hot lap around the Pukekohe Park Raceway today as a passenger in the race car of V8 Supercars Nissan star Rick Kelly.
It was pay-back time after the two-time Bathurst champion tried his hand at cycling on the velodrome at Invercargill last December with Dawkins and other members of the BikeNZ track squad. The Nissan Motorsport co-owner was in New Zealand at the time on a promotional tour for this week’s ITM 500 Auckland event.
Dawkins, who is a keen motorsport fan, said he was not prepared for the experience.
“It was quite unreal. I was amazed at the speed. Rick was so calm and put the car where he wanted,” Dawkins said.
“They are amazing athletes and so precise, even at those speeds. I was holding on pretty hard around some of those corners like into turn one and coming over the hill. It was awesome.”
Dawkins had rushed to Pukekohe after a big training day and returned for a further training session at the BikeNZ base in Cambridge as he and his teammates prepare for July’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
“Our coach is giving us Sunday off, so all of the boys will come back up to watch the racing. We’ll cheer Rick on but it would be good to see the Kiwis win.”