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Northern Territory rider Matthew Juster has stolen the show and won the Elite Men’s race at the first round of the BMX Australia Chambikx/Probikx UCI Series, dedicating a powerful victory to his Grandfather who passed…

Northern Territory rider Matthew Juster has stolen the show and won the Elite Men’s race at the first round of the BMX Australia Chambikx/Probikx UCI Series, dedicating a powerful victory to his Grandfather who passed away on Monday.

Undeterred by predictions of rain, more than 270 riders and a jovial crowd descended on Nerang BMX Club on the Gold Coast to take part in the National Series opener. Also among the entrants were riders from New Zealand, Japan and France.

While Juster won the Elite Men’s race, New Zealand rider Zoe Fleming caused an upset to win the Elite Women’s event. The first-time Elite rider beat home Queensland’s Tyler-Lea Thorley and reigning Australian champion Leanna Curtis.

Further afield in the elite classes, the talented Saya Sakakibara fended off a strong challenge from Sara Jones to win the Junior Elite Women’s event, while second year Junior Elite Men’s rider Joshua Boyton also began his year with victory.

However the story of the night belonged to Jingili BMX Club’s Juster, as he was first across the line in all but one lap on the first day of the school, asserting himself as the rider to catch. 

Finishing ahead of highly fancied Olympian Bodi Turner and up-and-comers Bradley Game and Tristyn Kronk, Juster said he thought of his late grandfather from start to finish.

“My grandpa passed away on Monday, so I had him in my mind all day. That race was for him,” Juster said.

“I rode as hard as I could and it paid off in the end. My grandpa was always supportive, my whole family is. I just did the best I could and I am stoked with the win.

“The competition is really hard out there. Bradley Game who came second, he’s flying. I just checked the hill time and he was the fastest out of the gate.

“I was lucky to have the inside at the start and that is the only reason I got out in front, I had the inside line for the first corner.”

Meanwhile Fleming produced a tidy performance under pressure to win the Elite Women’s event. With an imminent one-way ticket to the USA to try and make it as a professional BMX racer, the Kiwi was beaming with a win to start her year.  

“It was very cool to win straight out the gate tonight, the racing here is awesome,” Fleming said.  

“I won my first race here as a Junior Elite, so to come here as an Elite and win for the first time again, just six days into the new year is pretty special.

“Coming into this race I had second pick on the gate and had two of the fastest girls on either side of me, you always have pressure. But dealing with pressure is what I’m working on, and when the gate dropped I just went for it.

“I’ll be back for the Grands Assault National Series tomorrow, then it’s off to America in a few weeks.”

With the first round of the Chambikx/Probikx UCI Series complete, attention now turns to BMX Australia’s all-new Grands Assault National Series tomorrow. That event will see riders from as young as 10-years-old contesting a national level.

Practice begins at 8am AEST, with racing scheduled to commence at 9.45am AEST at Nerang BMX Club.

To see full results CLICK HERE

Challenge series report to follow.