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Illawarra rider Leanna Curtis has stolen the show at Cairns BMX Club this weekend, backing up her win in yesterday’s Probikx UCI finale to beat home training partner Saya Sakakibara in today’s Grands Assault series….

Illawarra rider Leanna Curtis has stolen the show at Cairns BMX Club this weekend, backing up her win in yesterday’s Probikx UCI finale to beat home training partner Saya Sakakibara in today’s Grands Assault series.

Just 0.078 of a second separated Curtis from up-and-coming junior Sakakibara on the finish line, Queensland rider Sara Jones claimed third place. In the AA pro men’s race the Northern Territory’s Matt Juster won, and like Curtis pieced together his second win of the weekend.

However the show belonged to Curtis and Sakakibara who wrote another chapter in their brewing rivalry, which began in earnest last October at the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Rock Hill, USA when Sakakibara claimed second to Curtis’ sixth in the elite women’s final.  

After going winless for much of the season, reigning Aussie women’s champion Curtis came out firing this weekend, saying that there must be something about the Cairns track that clicks with her, after taking out two major races in just two days.

“I was only joking yesterday, but there must be something that I like about this place,” Curtis said.

“With this Grands Assault series we’re racing some of the younger girls, and to be honest it’s a bit harder. On the second day there is more competition and the young girls are pushing us. So my focus coming to these rounds has been on the second day, because it’s harder.

“As we went over the line Saya and I were just screaming at each other. She was screaming at me because I got her, and I was screaming at her for the same reason! We train together, and it’s good to race together as well. We’re good friends.”

With the 2017 Australian National Championships looming at the end of this month, Curtis acknowledge that she would again face tougher competition when she attempts to defend her Aussie title against the likes of dual Olympians Caroline Buchanan and Lauren Reynolds.

“When it comes to nationals I am definitely ready to take on Caroline and Lauren. It will be a step up again to race them, Caroline is always super strong. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m ready for it.”

Meanwhile in the men’s race it was again Juster who crossed the line first, beating home Kai Sakakibara and Mackay’s Corey Frieswyk who recorded his best result of the season so far.

“I messed up the gate big time on that race, and Josh McLean had a good start on the outside, and then Josh and Kai were squeezing me,” Juster said.

“I played it safe and tried to stay in a good position, and then saw that Kai shot to the inside coming into turn two and knew he wouldn’t come out with enough speed. I went in wide and read is riding easily. So I came in low on him and pushed him high to take the lead.

“I was confident again today, I came in as first seed and chose gate six. This event is all about having fun for me and I wanted to test myself and see if I could get the win from a different lane.

“Apart from that it was a fast, clean lap.”

In the A Pro men’s race it was Lake Macquarie’s Nathaniel Rodway who won, the 16-year’s world number two leading home world seven Kye Affoo of Queensland. New Zealand’s Jayden Fleming came home in third.

Other results saw the experienced Sean Dwight finish on top in the Vet Pro race, while Dirk Winter continued an incredibly strong season with a win in the 17-32 men. Queensland’s Ashleigh Gunn was third won the 17+ women’s class.

Nerang’s Jesse Asmus continued his great form this weekend to win for the second day in a row in the 14-year’s boy’s class, while local rider Shannon Petre finished well ahead of the field in the 14-year’s girl’s class to maintain her impeccable form in the Grands Assault series.

Western Australia’s Alicia Jokic won the 15-year’s girl’s race, while Oliver Moran chalked up his second win for the weekend in the boy’s. However victory didn’t come easily for Moran who finished ahead of WA’s Corey Taylor by a slender margin.

Cairns BMX Club had more to cheer about in the 16-year’s boy’s event as Wade Mundie took another win to close out a successful weekend on home turf, while Molly McGill was too good in the 16-year’s girls event.

Impressive form was shown by the younger riders taking part in the event, Fletcher Klepiak winning the 10-year’s boy’s and Joshua Jolly winning the 11-year’s boy’s, both fist pumping the air in elation as they crossed the line.

The 12-year’s boy’s event was won by Aiden Smith, while world number one Tyson Kenny was too good in the 13-boy’s.

On the girl’s side of the ledger 10-year-old Portia Eden crossed first in the 11-year’s race and Isabella Schramm claimed top spot in the 12-year’s event.

Today’s racing wrapped up the penultimate round of the Grands Assault series, with the finale to be held on Wednesday April 26 as a prelude to the 2017 Australian National Championships at the Sleeman Sports Complex in Brisbane.