Leah Hearne and Paige Harding are ready to go as they journey to the Apple Isle for the final round of the 2018 BMXA BAD BOY National Series.
COVER PIC: Hearne (left) racing BMX. (pic courtesy of Hearne’s Instagram. Harding (right) competing at the fifth round of the national series at Cross Keys BMX Club. (pic courtesy of Get Snapt)
The seventh and final round of the national series is rapidly approaching and for the riders making the trip down to Tasmania, this is their last chance to gain some valuable points in the standings.
Two riders who are battling it out for a top three spot in the women’s superclass division are Batemans Bay’s 16-year old Leah Hearne and 14-year-old Paige Harding from Windsor, NSW.
Throwing themselves into the deep end, the two young riders have had a competitive year in the national series going up against much older riders and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
For Hearne, her first year as a junior elite rider has given her a taste of what it’s like to compete at the top level and she is excited about the future possibilities heading her way.
“This has been my first year as a junior elite and it has been a massive eye opener,” Hearne said.
“When you’re racing in your age class, you have all developed the same and you know everything about each other before the gate drops.
“Now I’ve started to race against people you’ve never raced before, and you don’t know exactly where you sit.”
Alongside competing in the junior elite class, Hearne has also been racing in the superclass division, which has put her alongside some of Australia’s top female riders.
“It’s really daunting racing against them,” Hearne continued.
“But after the first few races, I became a bit more settled and it’s been an awesome experience getting to try new things and always striving to keep up with them and progress further.”
Along similar lines is Castle Hill BMX Club’s Harding. The tenacious teen has tackled the 2018 season with open arms and is eager to continue developing her skills as she takes on tough competitors.
“It’s been really good to see where I’m at and to see what I need to do to improve,” Harding said.
“I think Leanna Curtis has been a really good rider to compete against. She’s really fast and her technique is really good. If I can keep up with her I know I’ve had a good race.”
Hearne and Harding have been neck-and-neck throughout the national series so far. At Satellite City in the Northern Territory, the first round of the superclass division had Hearne (fourth) beat home Harding (fifth).
The next stop was in Adelaide at Cross Keys where Hearne once again edged out her younger rival, crossing the finish line in third, while Harding was fourth.
The most recent round at Tuggeranong in the nation’s capital resulted in Hearne finishing fifth, while Harding was close behind her in sixth position.
The pair have a strong respect for one another as they both ride for the NSW state team and have known each other for a long time.
“Paige is an awesome gate starter with really good skills like jumping and manualling,” Hearne explained.
“We have known each other for a while and I’ve always known her to be really competitive. Watching her have great skills at such a young age has always pushed me to follow suit and it’s great to be able to race with her.”
The feelings are very mutual for Harding who admires Hearne’s skills and enjoys her company off the track.
“Leah is really strong around corners, and somehow, she is always on your inside,” Harding said.
“We have known each other for a while and it’s a lot of fun to race against her as competitors and as friends.”
The 2018 BMXA BAD BOY National Series has been different to its predecessors. This year, it has included more rounds, more states and more riders and the reason for it is to spread top-level BMX racing further around the country.
The circuit has given riders the chance to compete and travel to more BMX tracks as well as affording riders who can’t travel a taste of what the national series is all about.
For the New South Wales pair, this series has meant they can dive into deeper depths and be rewarded for their efforts.
“This series has been much longer, and It has been great,” Hearne said.
“We are getting good breaks between events and we get to travel all over the country which is an awesome experience and what is better is that we get to do it with people who share the same passion.”
The two riders have never touched Tassie soil and can’t wait to be amongst the action as more than 200 riders prepare for the gate to drop on Saturday October 20.
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