The stage has been set for a cracking Oceania BMX Championships tomorrow, as Australia’s Matt Juster and New Zealander Sarah Walker took out victories in the men and women’s Probikx UCI Series in Bathurst, NSW…
The stage has been set for a cracking Oceania BMX Championships tomorrow, as Australia’s Matt Juster and New Zealander Sarah Walker took out victories in the men and women’s Probikx UCI Series in Bathurst, NSW this evening.
Rain had threatened to make life difficult for riders on the behemoth Bathurst supercross track from the outset of racing, and as the finals neared the precipitation fell, turning the track into a slick battleground for competitors.
In the men’s race Juster continued his purple patch of form to claim his second win from three rounds in the Probikx UCI series. The Northern Territory local has seemingly entered 2017 with renewed vigour, today edging out Wollongong’s Kai Sakakibara who is still looking for his first win of 2017.
After crossing the line, Juster simply said that the opportunity to win only presented itself in the second to last corner when Sakakibara left the door ajar.
“I had a good start, but it’s been raining so the start was very slick and I was cautious from there,” Juster recalled.
“I had a good lead and came across on Kai at the first corner and I thought I had shut him out, so took the corner cautiously because it was wet. But I left the door open and Kai shot back out from underneath me. He’s great on this track.
“But then he left the door open on the second last turn and I knew that was my chance. I was so close to crossing over the white line and I thought he would come back at me, but I pulled it off.”
Meanwhile the elite women’s race looked to be the first of two key encounters between Australian champion Leanna Curtis and London Olympic silver medallist Walker.
The pair, as well as Australia’s Tyler-Lea Thorley, who is placed second in the women’s Probikx series, raced down the front straight shoulder to shoulder. However Walker was able to use her experience to edge ahead and win her first race after a nine-month injury hiatus.
“I have done very hard training on the velodrome in the lead up to this weekend, that helped a lot for the fitness on this track. I have just turned up and done my best, and that was enough to win so I’m stoked,” Walker said.
“I am still nervous about this track. The wind was very strong this afternoon, so I just focused on doing the best start I could and tried to be smooth around the track. I threw in a few extra jumps and manuals in the final, so that helped.
“Unfortunately I didn’t get to race against Leanna nor Tyler-Lea until the final, and I knew they had done fast laps all day. So I had to try my hardest and seeing them by my side down the first straight gave me a rush I have been missing for nine months!”
In the junior elite competition Australia’s Saya Sakakibara tightened her stranglehold on the women’s series lead with her third victory on the trot. In the junior elite men’s race Kiwi Maynard Peel signalled his intentions ahead of the Oceania Championships, beating Queensland’s Izaac Kennedy to the line.
A number of standout performances highlighted the Chambikx series, with Molly McGill (16-years girls), Des’ree Barnes (15-years-girls), Buddha Baum (14-years-boys), Paige Harding (14-years-girls) and Dirk Winter (17-29 men) all claiming wins to remain undefeated in this series for 2017.
Other victorious riders were New Zealand’s Cailen Calkin in the 16 boys, Corey Talor of Western Australia in the 15 boys, Kiwi Toni James in the 17+ women and Victoria’s Andrew Jackson in the 30+ Masters race.