In a different twist on sporting competition, the Tauranga City Council Flagship event is one aimed at intermediate and middle schools.

Wynyard BMX Park’s Rylee Kemp and Tuggeranong’s Jeremy Pettett have recently returned from a trip across the ditch to Tauranga, New Zealand, where they competed in the annual Anchor AIMES Games International Sporting Championships.

In a different twist on sporting competition, the Tauranga City Council Flagship event is one aimed at intermediate and middle schools. Rather than competing for a club, young athletes instead competed as teams or individuals representing their school, specifically year seven and eight students.

This year marked the second time that BMX was included on the program, and the first time that Australian riders took part. Overall BMX was one of 21 sports, while the event saw 10,139 students descend on the host city.

Trading his Wynyard jersey for the green and gold and representing Somerset Primary in Tasmania, Kemp rode in the year seven event, while Pettett rode for Melba Copeland Secondary School in Canberra in the year eight event.

Both faced tough competition, with the fierceness of their rivals matched by the ferocity of the strong winds and heavy rain.

The BMX event commenced on Monday 11 September with practice and school teams’ heats. Teams where made up of two riders from a school, with schools able to enter as many teams as they wanted.

In the spirit of the games, the officials at the BMX event decided that the two Aussies could team up and form Team Australia to compete in the heats. The boys managed to come 15th out of 31 teams, with the top eight teams qualifying for the semi-finals.

Tuesday was time trials day, allowing each rider two attempts to get the best time they could in their class. Kemp had a best time of 44.470 with his first run, and 44.740 for his second run to finish 19th overall.

Meanwhile Pettett completed his first run in 40.190, but misfortune struck on his second attempt as he unclipped going down the start hill, crashing on the first jump. Regaining composure, he dusted himself off and completed the track.

Proving again that the AIMES Games are about inclusion, competing and having fun, the officials gave Pettett a third attempt to better his time. Although it was a 40.930, his first attempt saw the Canberran place sixth.

As Thursday September 14 rolled around, so did the day for individual racing and the finals of the teams’ event.

The individual event consisted of four motos, quarterfinals for year seven boys, semi-finals, invitational finals and main finals. Both boys produced good motos and progressed – quarterfinals for Kemp and semi-finals for Pettett.

Kemp then continued his good form to finish in the top four in his quarterfinals and Semi-finals completing the event with an eighth in his final. Unfortunately for Pettett, he wasn’t able to carry over his speedy pace from the motos in his semi-final, inevitably finishing seventh. Even so, the Melba-Copeland Secondary School student progressed to an ‘Invitational Final’.

Both boys were happy with what they had achieved at the event, spending time afterwards with some of the other riders to continue riding the track and having fun.

A big thank you goes to the organisers of the Anchor AIMS Games for hosting a great event, and on two occasions acting on the true spirit of the events to ensure the Aussies were included in all facets.

Thanks also goes to Tina Bourke from the Tauranga BMX Club, officials and the other competitors and families for making the two Aussies welcome in what was a home away from home.

Further information on the event can be found here:

Future AIMS Games will be held on the following dates:

2018: Sunday September 9 – Friday September 14

2019: Sunday September 8 – Friday September 13

2020: Sunday September 6 – Friday September 11

*All information provided by Gary Pettettt.