When she lines up in the superclass event at Satellite City for the third round of the BMXA National Series this weekend, Castle Hill BMX Club’s rising star Paige Harding will be thinking of one…
When she lines up in the superclass event at Satellite City for the third round of the BMXA National Series this weekend, Castle Hill BMX Club’s rising star Paige Harding will be thinking of one thing: learning.
The 15 years girl’s rider will take on the 8 metre hill in a race for the very first time and while she admits the nerves are already fluttering, she’s keen to rise to the challenge.
And that challenge comes in two forms for the year 10 student from Sydney’s Arndell Anglican College – a new track with a big hill and a host of top class rivals that includes 2016 Australian women’s elite champion Leanna Curtis, reigning national title holder Erin Lockwood and the prodigious Des’Ree Barnes.
The Northern Territory event is the first national series round of the season that includes the superclass for riders 14+, rather than the UCI’s elite events.
“I’m excited and nervous at the same time,” Harding told BMXA.
“I just wanted to try something new and jump the 8 metre with the other girls around me for the first time.”
Harding has been working hard under coach Luke Madill and believes she is in good form, finishing second to Curtis in the superclass at last weekend’s BMXNSW Penrith Open.
Watch that final from Penrith below, courtesy of Mick Carruthers
“I feel like I’m getting faster. I’m pretty happy with how I’ve been racing the big girls,” Harding said.
“I’ve learnt that I can keep up with them even though they’re a lot older. I’ve also learnt I have a long way to go.”
Harding will fly to Darwin on Thursday and hit the track for the first time on Friday morning with the NSW state team and she is determined to use her practice time wisely.
“I’ll focus on the 8m hill and the technical parts of the track,” she said.
“My goal is mainly to be confident jumping the 8m with all the other girls around.”
While much of her energy will go into her national series superclass debut, Harding will also race in her age group alongside another rider debuting at this level in the superclass event, Shannon Petre from Cairns BMX Club.
It will be a busy few days for Harding, Petre and Kiana Botfield who will all double up in their age and the superclass. Oliver Moran and Rory McNamara will take on the same challenge on the men’s side of the ledger.
Racing will kick off with moto 1 at 6:30pm on Saturday evening before concluding on Sunday.