Advancing the sport of motorcycling

Katherine Oberlin-Brown

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Katherine Oberlin-Brown

Born: 1988 -

Inducted into MNZ Hall of Fame: 2019

Katherine was born in South Africa in 1988. Moving to New Zealand in 1995 at aged 7. Motocross was always part of the Prumm family life. Helen (Mum), Eric (Dad), younger brother Matthew and of course Katherine all rode. The family lived for Motocross.

Katherine competed against the men on an equal footing, no favours asked or given. All the time aiming towards the highest level of the sport. Many people remember the day at the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville, where she took two holeshots out of three starts in the MX2 class. In the end finishing in the top 10 outright on the day.

In 2005 The FIM Women's Motocross World Cup was created, the forerunner to The FIM Women’s World Championship which was established in 2008.

Here was the chance to have a first taste of World Championship level racing . The 17-year-old Katherine would make a remarkable European debut by finishing second behind German Stephanie Laier.

Encouraged by that success, 2006 saw her return to Europe, this time she took out the number one spot. At age 18, Katherine was top of the World in Women’s Motocross.

Winning the World Cup was something, holding on to it was another thing all together. Returning to Europe for the 2007 season for her title defense, this time wearing the number one plate, Katherine knew all eyes were on her and there was a target on her back. But showing her skill and determination she repeated her previous years success by winning the Cup for a second time. In addition she headed to the USA to compete for the US National Women’s Motocross Cup Championship in Texas. Adding that title to her 2007 overseas campaign.

Life was good, Katherine was two time World Women’s Cup Motocross Champion, so what was the next challenge. That answer was easy try and win a third time.

Her 2008 campaign began well when she signed with Yamaha.

Even riding with ruptured ACL knee ligament, which she had suffered in a pre-season crash, Katherine still led the Championship after three of the five rounds. With only two rounds to go she looked odds on favorite to win her third title. Then disaster. A training crash only days before round four saw her out with a badly broken collarbone. Katherine would finish 5th in the title chase.

Never one to let an injury put her off. Plans were hatched to be back in Europe for the 2009 season. However those plans were scrapped before she even left New Zealand. While training , Katherine mis-timed a jump. Landing heavily and head-first down a 3 metre bank with her bike crashing on top of her. Resulting in a broken back in three places. While it was feared that she may never walk again, eventually Katherine made a full recovery. But her Motocross racing days were over.

But life after Motocross has been good .

Happily married and although no longer involved with Motocross, Katherine is still none the less heavily involved in elite sport.

She graduated from University with a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science and then completed her Masters Degree, and now works as a physiologist for High Performance Sport New Zealand where she plays a key role helping the current generation of elite Kiwi athletes.