Sam Willoughby has extended the record of most consecutive Pro wins in the USA BMX series out to 11 wins when he won the Great Salt Lake Nationals in West Jordan, Utah over the weekend.
Following a successful domestic BMX race season, BMX Australia has announced the hosts for the 2014 BMX Australia National Series. Riders will have the opportunity to compete across 5 rounds that sees racing held on Queensland’s east coast and then on to the west coast of Australia in Perth before concluding in Victoria.
Rounds 1 and 2 will be a double header at the Nerang BMX Club, which has become an institution within the sport for hosting the series opener. Taking advantage of the great weather and holidays, racing will start just after the New Year on Friday January 3 and Saturday January 4 and is sure to attract a high number of competitors.
The series moves to the west coast in March (15 & 16) where Westside BMX Club at Balcatta will host Rounds 3 & 4. The track at Westside proved to be a fast and competitive one in 2013 that tested the riders as they looked to maintain their opening round success or claw back some lost ground.
The final round of the series will be held on Thursday May 1 during the 2014 BMX Australia National Championships that have been awarded to the Shepparton BMX Club. All Probikx rounds will attract UCI points through their C1 classification, though the final round will double as the Oceania Championships (CC classification) where Australia and the other Oceania nations will contest the championships.
Riders will compete in the Champbikx Series, Challenge Series and Probikx Tour according to their age in both male and female classes. The Champbikx Series caters for 14, 15 and 16 years riders which has traditionally seen some very competitive racing from the rising stars within the sport. Those aged 17-24 and 30+ Masters will compete in the Challenge class which has been a new addition to the National Series in 2013 and has been a category that has been well received.
BMX Australia General Manager Mark Louis said he was excited about the announcement as BMX Australia prepares its riders for international competition in the coming weeks.
“The BMX Australia National Series is an important component in the development pathway for BMX riders in Australia. It continues to lift the standard of competition domestically, but it also prepares riders who are looking to make the next step to the international scene,” Louis said.
“One of our great strengths as the number 1 ranked BMX nation is that we have a really strong domestic scene. Riders who compete in the National Series gain valuable development and experience as an athlete which is vital if their goals are compete internationally.
“The addition of the Challenge Series has been well received too. In the past riders who didn’t wish to ride in the Elite categories had no further avenue to compete; by being inclusive of these riders we have really opened up the sport again to riders who still have that desire to race.
“Right now our domestic season has wrapped up and the focus is on sending over 550 riders to New Zealand for the World Championships. The National Series has given these riders a competitive edge by racing against some of the best riders in Australia; they now have the opportunity to take that to the World Championships.”
Rounds 1 & 2: Nerang BMX Club – January 3 & 4, 2014 (C1) Rounds 3 & 4: Westside BMX Club – March 15 & 16, 2014 (C1) Round 5 : Shepparton BMX Club – May 1, 2014 (CC)
Image courtesy of Peter Ford (CSN)
New Zealand BMX riders made an encouraging start today to their American campaign in preparation for next month’s World Championships in Auckland.
In her first competition for more than eight months following shoulder surgery, Olympic silver medallist Sarah Walker qualified for the finals on both days of the USA BMX Nationals round in Nashville, Tennessee.
She finished sixth on Saturday (NZ time) and fifth today in the rain-delayed competition.
Fellow Olympian Marc Willers was fourth on Saturday in his first competition after a lower back ailment, although he missed out in the quarterfinals today.
North Canterbury’s Trent Jones, fifth in the junior elite category in the world championships last year, enjoyed an excellent debut in the elite ranks, placing fourth in his first AA Pro grand final today.
Pukekohe’s Trent Woodcock, racing in the A Pro division, was fourth on Saturday and grabbed a podium placing in third today.
The men’s competition attracted most of the leading American riders, along with world champion Sam Willoughby (AUS), the 2011 world champion Joris Daudet (FRA) and the Kiwis.
The women’s line-up had all of the key Americans, top Australian Lauren Reynolds and two London Olympic medallists in champion Mariana Pajon (COL) and Walker.
BikeNZ BMX Coach Ryan Hollows said it was an excellent start for the riders.
“It’s a great start to Sarah's US campaign and the beginning of her come back. She has a long way to go and a lot of hard work ahead but I am really happy with how she's riding given it has been more than eight months,” Hollows said.
“It was an excellent day for Trent today. It’s his rookie year at this level and this result will give him the confidence he needs and it shows that he on the right track.
“Marc is just coming back from his injury and started to show some spark on Saturday but hopefully he will come through his first full weekend of racing and begin to get back to his top form.
“Trent Woodcock has just arrived in the US from training in Australia and showed some strong form in the A Pro division.”
There is one further day of racing tomorrow before the group prepare for the next round of racing in Utah next weekend. The team is in the US for five weeks before returning to New Zealand briefly en route to their final staging camp in Brisbane ahead of the world championships in Auckland on 24-28 July.
Full details: www.bmxworldsnz.com
BikeNZ’s BMX team make their first competitive steps towards July’s World Championships, this weekend in the United States.
The elite team will compete in the USA BMX Nationals in Nashville, after their first week of a five-week stint of training and racing in America.
The team will compete in the USA BMX National rounds in Nashville (Tennessee), South Jordan (Utah), Rockford (Illinois) and Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) before returning to New Zealand in Mid-July. They will then head to Brisbane for an eight-day final staging camp before the world championships in Auckland on 24-28 July at Vector Arena.
Many of the world’s best riders including the Americans are competing in the USA series and will therefore present stern competition for the New Zealanders.
“Obviously with winter in New Zealand we had to head overseas to prepare,” said BikeNZ BMX Coach Ryan Hollows. “There were two Supercross events in Europe but they were too far spread out to suit our plans.
“We will get great weather and training conditions and world class competition.
“The US is the strongest domestic competition in the world and is bolstered by so many other international riders coming here to prepare for the world championships.”
There is three days of racing from Saturday (NZ time).
It will be the first significant competition for Olympic medallist Sarah Walker after her return from shoulder surgery, while US-based Marc Willers is also back in action after a lower back complaint.
Others members of the High Performance squad racing include Trent Jones (Kaiapoi) and Daniel Franks (Christchurch), while Gisborne’s Nick Fox is also competing. London Olympian Kurt Pickard (Tauranga) and Matt Cameron (New Plymouth) will miss this weekend’s racing as they recover from minor injuries.
The UCI BMX World Championships are at Vector Arena, Auckland on 24-28 July. Tickets from www.ticketmaster.co.nz. Full details: www.bmxworldsnz.com
London Olympic silver medal BMX rider Sarah Walker will proudly carry a brand synonymous with New Zealand cycling at July’s UCI BMX World Championships in Auckland with news that Avanti is once again set to make its mark in the world of BMX.
Sheppard Cycles is the New Zealand Company that engineers and distributes the Avanti brand of bikes throughout New Zealand and Australia and has in recent years supported World Champion pursuit rider Alison Shanks and the Pure Black Racing Team and in 2013 the Huon Salmon Genesys Pro Cycling Team.
Now the brand is set to feature once again in the world of BMX bikes with the race bikes carrying the iconic New Zealand Avanti brand from August 2013, with Walker, Tahlia Hansen, Kurt James, Max Macready and Richard McLachlan amongst the first to enjoy the best in Kiwi engineering.
Walker rode the 2014 Avanti branded prototype for the first time today and will take the bike with her to the USA as she prepares for the July 24 - 28 UCI World Championships at Vector Arena (www.bmxworldsnz.com)
“I have been a professional athlete racing BMX for a number of years and I absolutely love what I do,” said Walker. “The preparation, training and of course the execution of race plans is critical. However, I have also learned that another key to a top performance is surrounding myself with top quality equipment and people who have as much passion and commitment to succeed as I do.
“I have been involved with the Avanti family for a number of years now and they have been an integral part of my success. The team believe in what I do and are always looking for ways to continue to adapt and improve my frame technology and equipment. I am excited to be able to represent all that Avanti stands for and showcase this when I am training and racing.
“It is a fantastic feeling when competing on the international stage as a New Zealander and knowing that I have the backing of a strong, NZ brand like Avanti. These guys have over 25 years in the bike industry with their first bikes being BMX so these guys truly know what they are doing. This knowledge and commitment is totally reflected in the bike I ride and just adds to my confidence.
“I am really excited about taking Avanti all the way to Rio 2016. Like me, Avanti believe in the success of New Zealanders and that if we work together you can be the absolute best in the World.”
John Oldale leads the BMX design team at Avanti and spoke of the work that has gone into the development of the new frameset.
“The Avanti Team issue frameset was developed in conjunction with our team riders,” said Oldale, Avanti BMX Bicycle Product Manager.
“The initial design brief was to come up with something that was light, fast and stiff giving the rider the ultimate advantage out of the gate and down the first straight. In order to do this we needed to develop a back end that was incredibly stiff yet had no weight penalty. We chose to use custom shaped tubes made out of Kinesis K7 alloy which offers a strength-to-weight ratio and produces a very strong but lightweight frame.
“The frame also features a BB30 PF bottom bracket which is a technology borrowed from road bikes allowing for a larger crank axle and bearings. The rear hub is custom made for Avanti and uses a 15mm axle which is 5mm larger than a standard BMX race axle, once again making the overall package stiff. The hub has 120 points of engagement – meaning that there is little to no slip on the chain for immediate pick-up out of the gate. To finish the frame off we have used “double pass” welds to help reduce stress and increase fatigue life.”
The move to reengage the Avanti brand in BMX racing sees the company go full circle from the very first bike produced by the company to once again proudly providing world class framesets to the best riders in the world.
“Sheppard’s are excited to re-introduce the Avanti brand back in the BMX race scene – the grass roots of where the company began over 30 years ago,” said Bob Boniface, Sheppard Cycles Managing Director.
“It completes the circle of high performance athletes we support under the Avanti brand with the likes of Alison Shanks and Cameron Brown and supports our drive to grow and support top level competitive cycling in NZ.
“We are looking forward to the range being released in August and are excited to be part of the sponsorship group helping bring the UCI World Champs to Auckland this coming July with Sarah, Max, Tahlia and Kurt all to race on the new Avanti frame.”
Image copyright Iain McGregor/Fairfax NZ
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