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Excavator heads to USA for dig at racing professionally

He moves dirt to pay the bills, but tears it up for a passion. Canberra excavator and dirt bike rider Ian Hamilton hopes a three-week trip to the United States in July launches his career. Hamilton, 27, will ride on a borrowed bike in national rounds of the US championships. He has been racing dirt bikes in Australian national championships since he was seven and is testing the water abroad to see if he can secure a professional contract for the future. The trip will cost him upwards to $10,000. "I'm sort of doing it on my own at the moment," Hamitlon said. "It's just for experience and to see what happens, hopefully I can go back and ride for a team next year." Hamilton used to race against former MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner as a junior and now he's hoping for his own success on the international stage. "The competition is a lot bigger in the US. It's a lot more competitive and there's a lot more prizemoney up for grabs compared to at home. In my three weeks over there, there are eight races I could do. In Australia, there are probably only eight races a year that are worth doing. They pay prizemoney right down to last place for finals and first place is $2000 or $3000. Here, if you get in the top three you get $1000 if you're lucky," he said. Hamilton finished second in the Australian championships last year and has placed in the top five at every Australian titles since he was 16. He is aiming to finally win a breakthrough Australian title at the national championships in Taree next month.

Murphy hooks in for Brumbies 

Australian under-20s rake Siliva Silva is injured and former Brumby Anthony Hegarty is back in town, but the ACT franchise have come up with an interesting way cover for their hooker stocks - Ruaidhri Murphy. Siliva's season is over. He will have ankle surgery this week and is also booked in for a knee operation. The Brumbies have asked loosehead prop Murphy to start practising his lineout throwing as back up in case either Stephen Moore or Josh Mann-Rea get injured as well. Hegarty, the former chippy who played 17 games for the Brumbies, is back in Canberra to get married after finishing his season with French club Grenoble. The Brumbies have sent an email to Grenoble to investigate Hegarty's availability, but it's not known if Hegarty will be cleared or if there will be associated insurance costs to protect his French deal. The Brumbies are also scouring club rugby ranks across Australia.

Campo's charity off and racing

He’s keen for his team to break its rot and salute against Penrith on Saturday, and Canberra Raiders skipper Terry Campese also has his fingers crossed a highly-fancied yearling will get on a winning run and earn money for his charity. Massive racing fans MCE Racing have decided to pledge at least 5 per cent of the winnings won by one of its highly-fancied colts to the Terry Campese Foundation. By Husson out of Bellsabeel, the chestnut colt is trained by top Sydney trainers Peter and Paul Snowden and is yet to be named, but it will race on the metropolitan circuit. After some initial hesitancy from Racing NSW, MCE Racing got the green light to put The Terry Campese Foundation logo on the jockey’s silks, donated by Highland Sports, which will also boast the Raiders’ green, yellow and white colours. “We’re all massive Raiders fans, I’m the main one and everyone else has been converted,’’ MCE Racing director Marco Ellul said.  “It’ll definitely be a metro horse, we just have to wait until he gets there.’’ Campese said: “It’s pretty exciting for the charity, hopefully it’ll be racing in some big races in Sydney and Melbourne. There’s a few keen punters around the club, I’m sure it’ll get a good following.’’

Bishop's baby bonus with Caps


Childcare could be a key to keeping Olympic basketballer Abby Bishop at the Capitals. Bishop quit the Australian Opals world championships campaign this year because of policy and costs that would have restricted her caring for Zala, her eight-month-old niece she has taken custody of. The Capitals announced a partnership with University of Canberra on Friday, and are working with them to provide child care for Zala at the campus, and also home care. Bishop has been given a deadline of early next week to decide whether to re-sign with Canberra, or head to Europe. “We’ve worked with UC to build in a child care arrangement for her, which we feel is appropriate, caring and pertinent with elite female athletes in her unique situation,’’ Capitals coach Carrie Graf said. “We know it’s a big factor for Abby, she’s conscious of being a wonderful parent for Zala. We’re confident with the offer, but we know it’s not easy for her.’’ Earlier this week Bishop spoke of her desire to stay in Canberra, saying:  "I'd love to stay in Canberra, and that's my first preference."

White taking care of business

Canberra Raiders forward Brett White is still weighing up whether to play again next season. If he doesn’t, he still should be able to pay the bills judging by the roaring trade his new Braddon business, Pita Pit, was doing at its official opening on Thursday. White is managing the business with former Raider Glen Turner, and offers healthy eating options. A heap of Raiders players were there for a taste test, including Terry Campese, Sami Sauiluma, Glen Buttriss and Reece Robinson. White said he is yet to make a decision on when he will retire.  “I’m really enjoying my footy, even though it’s been a couple of tough weeks,’’ he said. Should he hang up the boots, it’s likely the club will offer him a mentoring position, including helping young players take up study or apprenticeships.

Brumbies booted out of bed

The SANZAR schedule changed has caused travel chaos for the Brumbies in South Africa. The Brumbies' game against the Pretoria Bulls has been moved from May 24 to May 23 to accommodate for the inauguration ceremony for South Africa's President Elect in the capital next weekend. The Brumbies changed their travel schedule to suit a shorter preparation week. Instead of visiting Kruger National Park before the game, the Brumbies will return to Johannesburg. But the change caused confusion at the team hotel when they arrived last week. Hotel staff thought the Brumbies had cancelled their first week in Johannesburg and moved it to the second week of their tour. The result? Forty players and staff left without rooms and a hotel lobby full of rugby bags on arrival. It was sorted out relatively quickly. The next challenge is the flight home. The Brumbies can now return to Australia 24 hours earlier than first planned. But the touring party could be split between two flights - one straight to Sydney and the other to Perth.