Australia’s BMX riders are about to let loose at the 2019 Oceania BMX Championships in New Zealand and the Kiwis should watch out.
COVER PIC: Corey Frieswyk going through the motions at the Nerang BMX track in 2018. (Pic courtesy of MadB Photography)
The longstanding rivalry between Australia and New Zealand has a fierce and proud history and, once again, the two nations will clash at the 2019 Oceania BMX Championships at the Te Awamutu track next week (January 19).
A total of 38 Australians will journey across the Tasman to take on the Kiwis on their home dirt with riders competing in the 8-boy’s up to the male and female elite classes.
A key member of the Aussie team is defending male elite Oceania champion Corey Frieswyk, who last year beat home Australia’s 2018 national champion Brandon Te Hiko in a photo finish at the Bunbury BMX Club.
Nearly 11 months on since his success, Frieswyk has undertaken surgery on his shoulder, completed his recovery process and is back at it on the bike ready to go for the upcoming event.
“Yeah I’m feeling pretty good at the moment. At the end of last year, I had surgery on my shoulder and I’ve slowly returned to my full strength. I’m now full time back at work and full time back in to my training,” Frieswyk said.
His return to racing last weekend at the Nerang Nationals was the perfect opportunity for the Caboolture BMX rider to compare his form with the rest of Australia’s top tier riders and he is happy with his progress.
“Nerang was a great challenge to start the year,” Frieswyk continued.
“It was good to see where I was and how I am against the rest of the boys. I know I have the capabilities and I know that I just have to be mentally ready going into it.
“I have to back myself 100% and if you believe in yourself enough, then you have a shot of taking it out. That’s the same for anyone out there. “
Frieswyk won’t be the only male elite Aussie firing at the Oceania’s with Te Hiko, Bradley Game, Kyle Hill, Jye Hombsch, Joshua Mclean, Josh Boyton, Nathaniel Rodway, Brad Shaylor, Dane Van Laeren and world no.9 Kai Sakakibara all giving it their best.
There’s no surprise that when one Sakakibara is present, the other one isn’t too far behind. World no.2, Saya Sakakibara, is flying high on the world stage after having an incredibly successful 2018 – her first year as an elite and the world is definitely keeping an eye on her.
Capping off her year was the final round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup held at the Santiago Del Estero track in Argentina. Taking on Laura Smulders and Alise Willoughby, (the current and former world champions) Sakakibara took them all the way to the finish line and gave one last push to win her maiden world cup gold medal. – READ REPORT HERE.
“I think it has finally sunken in,” Sakakibara explained.
“It’s been crazy, and it wasn’t what I expected in my first year as an elite, it has given me so much confidence heading into 2019. It was a really good indicator to see where I am at and now, I’ve set some new goals to aim higher.”
Starting off her year will be a shot at the Oceania’s where she will go up against the likes of Olympic silver medallist and defending Oceania champion, Sarah Walker, and home dirt hero, Rebecca Petch.
“I know there are lots of top girls in New Zealand and I can’t wait to race against my all-time idol Sarah Walker. Her riding style and BMX racing is amazing, and she has achieved some awesome results in her career as well as being an incredibly nice and humble, down to earth person,” Sakakibara said.
“It’s a pleasure to be lining up against her and it’s going to be a fun weekend. The track is great, and I am really excited to compete seeing as I missed out on last year.”
Looking back on previous competitions in New Zealand, the Illawarra rider can’t forget the amazing opportunity she had as an 11-year old when she captained the Mighty 11 girl’s team and she can’t wait to see old friends and re-spark old rivalries.
“Captaining the Mighty 11’s girl’s team was an awesome experience and it was great to share it with all my team mates. It was great to make friends with the NZ girls as well as the boys and they’re all amazing people.
Joining Sakakibara in the women’s elite class is Australia’s national champion Erin Lockwood, former champion Leanna Curtis and WA’s Rachel Gaskin.
Lockwood and Curtis also competed at the Nerang Nationals last weekend and will be eager to continue their 2019 for contrasting reasons. Lockwood unfortunately missed out on a top three finish after coming down in the final, while Curtis went on to win the race to start her year off on a high.
To read the report from Nerang – CLICK HERE
Stay tuned to all BMXA media platforms as we share the results and excitement from what shall be a fantastic day of racing.
To see the full riders list – CLICK HERE