Mackay’s Tristyn Kronk has produced a breakout performance in the first round of BMX Australia’s Grands Assault National Series to claim the first elite men’s win of his career in the AA Pro Men’s event…

Mackay’s Tristyn Kronk has produced a breakout performance in the first round of BMX Australia’s Grands Assault National Series to claim the first elite men’s win of his career in the AA Pro Men’s event at Nerang BMX Club.

More than 270 riders contested racing across 11 categories, the youngest just 10-years-old, while the eldest riders are closer to long-service leave than their days in the schoolyard.

While Kronk navigated the argy bargy of the AA Pro Men’s race to secure victory, the prodigious Saya Sakakibara won the Pro Women’s event to confirm her status as a star of the near future.

Other categories saw Novocastrian teenager Nathaniel Rodway bounce back from a disappointing run in yesterday’s Chambikx/Probikx UCI series to win the A Pro Men’s event, while 11-years boy’s world champion Thomas Tucker and 12-years boy’s world champion Tyson Kenny, a Gold Coast local, also won their events.

For Kronk the result was his first major result at a national level event. Recently named the ‘2016 Mackay Sportsperson of the Year’, the first-time winner described today’s result as a long time coming after countless hours of training. 

“It’s awesome to have won today, this is the first elite race I have won at a National Series weekend, it’s good to finally get it in the books,” Kronk exclaimed.

“I love being on the Gold Coast, this is one of my favourite races of the year. This event is a good stepping-stone for the rest of the year ahead, especially now that I have a win.  

“A lot of effort goes into trying to win. Every week of the year we train and you are always preparing for this moment. It’s been a long time coming to win it in the elite category, so it’s good to finally do it.

“For me personally it’s a reminder that I do have what it takes to win. It can be frustrating when you don’t get there. So it’s a bit of relief and rewarding too.”

Kronk’s result is icing on the cake following the opening day of racing, where he placed third behind tall Northern Territory rider Matt Juster and Western Australia’s Brad Game in the Chambikx/Probikx Series.

With the National Series also a key opportunity for riders to campaign for world championship selection, Kronk added that all the elite men are spurring each other on to improve.

“It isn’t nerve wracking taking on guys like Matt Juster, who won last night, I enjoy having the chance to race him and the other guys out there,” he said.

“Brad wasn’t in today’s final, but the others were and we all race together and it helps us all step up together.”

In the Pro Women’s class Sakakibara was the pick of a competitive field that included Australian champion Leanna Curtis, day one winner Zoe Fleming of New Zealand and fast 14-year-old Des’Ree Barnes, who has put her hand up to challenge women years her elder.

Relishing the opportunity to step up from the Junior Elite Women’s class in the Chambikx/Probikx Series to the Pro Women’s race in the Grands Assault National Series, Sakakibara said she was confident ahead of today that she could add another win to her victory from the opening day of racing.

“I think I had a bit of rhythm from last night coming into today. Last night was a really close race with Sara Jones and I knew I had to go home, reset and get prepared for today. I came into it confident and with a fresh mind and it worked in the final,” Sakakibara said.

“I prefer racing up in the Pro Women’s class. There’s a lot more girls to race against, older and younger riders all the way from 14-years to those normally racing elite. It’s just a great vibe among us all and it was a great race.

“I’ve now raced pro women internationally and at home, and I can tell you there is no difference in how you prepare. I think the key to being confident and relaxed is to treat every event as the same, whether it be club, state, national or international racing.

“I always race to win, but once I am in front I like to push as hard as I can and make it clear that I am the winner and have the ability to perform.”

The Grand Assault National Series is BMX Australia’s new domestic series. The points leaders in all classes at the conclusion of the series in April will receive a paid for trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma in November to contest the USA BMX Grand Nationals, an event promoted as the ‘greatest race on earth’.

Today’s racing concludes the first weekend of racing for BMX Australia’s National Series. The Chambikx/Probikx UCI and Grands Assault National Series will next be contested from February 4-5 in Shepparton, Victoria.