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Female riders ready to go from Cairns to the greatest race on earth

BMX has historically been a male-dominated sport, but don’t tell Cairns BMX Club trio Shannon Petre, Aislynn Weber and Portia Eden that, the girls are ready to race in the USA this week at the ‘greatest race on earth’ – the USA BMX Grands.

While the world championships are widely considered the pinnacle of BMX competition, for many riders the chance to ride the Grands in Tulsa, Oklahoma ranks right up there alongside it. Such is the attractiveness of the race in the USA, the world’s best riders, teams and sponsors gravitate to the annual event each November.

Although there will be strong Australian contingent, 18 riders including Petre, Weber and Eden have earned their way to Tulsa for free thanks to their results during the 2017 Australian domestic season.

This year the respective winners of the Grands Assault National Series were offered paid-for flights, entries and accommodation by BMX Australia as a reward for their success. For Cairns BMX Club, 2017 was a strong year for their female riders and Petre is hopeful that the trend will continue in the USA this week.

“It’s a male dominated sport but we’re starting to see the girls outperform the boys which is good,” Petre told the Townsville Bulletin.

“Aislynn, Portia and I are in different age groups but there are girls competing and doing well too.

“The worlds are big but this (Grands) is probably the biggest race in the world. I’m pretty stoked.”

Competing in the 14-year-old girls class, Petre is looking at the Grands as a chance for redemption following her world championships campaign. Like many riders, she holds herself to a high standard, and after a strong season at home, sixth place in Rock Hill, South Carolina seemingly fell short.

“This is my second trip over there (to the USA) this year,” Petre continued.

“Obviously I didn’t get the result I was chasing at the world championships but this is a different sort of track.

“The hills aren’t as big and it’s an indoor rack so it’s a little tighter.

“I think it will suit me better.”

Of the 18 riders whose trip is being provided by BMXA, 12 of them come from Queensland. Sunshine state riders enjoyed a strong year and joining the three Cairns riders in the USA will be Sacha Mills (Bayside BMX Club), Isabella Schramm and Luke Marsh (Ashmore BMX Club), Kira Hill, Tyson Kenny, Jesse Asmus and Kale Warner (Nerang BMX Club), Thomas Tucker (Pine Rivers BMX Club) and Dirk Winter (Suncoast Hinterland BMX Club).

Rounding out the group will be Phoebe Wallen and Joshua Jolly from Knox BMX Club in Victoria, as well as NSW riders Oliver Moran from Manning Valley BMX Club and Ashlee Miller from Castle Hill BMX Club.

Competition will begin for the Aussies on Thursday November 23 with a day of practice. The Race of Champions event will be held on Friday November 24, with the first moto of racing on Saturday November 25.

The Saturday night will see the track will be lit up for the pro championship finals, and included on the bill will be Aussies Lauren Reynolds and Anthony Dean.

Sunday November 25 will be the second moto and finals for all other riders. You can view the full schedule HERE.

For all details, including how to watch the event follow USA BMX!

(Note all above dates in local time. Tulsa, Oklahoma is 17 hours behind Australian Eastern Daylight-Saving time).

(PIC: Townsville Bulletin)