Prodigious BMX star Saya Sakakibara has stamped her authority on the daunting Bathurst BMX track to record her third win of the weekend, the 17-year-old beating home the open women in the BMX Australia Grands…
Prodigious BMX star Saya Sakakibara has stamped her authority on the daunting Bathurst BMX track to record her third win of the weekend, the 17-year-old beating home the open women in the BMX Australia Grands Assault National Series.
Joining Sakakibara as a winner in today’s proceedings was Matthew Juster in the AA Pro men’s event, the Northern Territory rider claiming his second win of the weekend after taking out the elite men’s Probikx UCI on Friday evening. Juster also recorded a second place finish in yesterday’s Oceania BMX Championships.
The women’s pro event wasn’t without drama, as 15-year-old rider Des’Ree Barnes suffered a fall during the motos. The race came asunder for the young competitor following contact with reigning Australian elite women’s champion Leanna Curtis. As a result Barnes was left nursing an injured arm, ruling her out of the finals, while Curtis was in a race against the clock to repair a damaged rear wheel.
However staying ahead of the melee from the first gate drop of the day was Sakakibara. In the pro women’s final she led home close friend come rival Curtis, adding a third win to her junior elite women’s Probikx UCI victory, and junior women’s Oceania title.
“It’s awesome to have won three out of three events this weekend,” Sakakibara said.
“I knew it would be tough to be ready to race at my best each day on this really long track, but I was able to pull off three good finals.
“It’s tough coming into a pro women’s race after racing juniors for the past few days. Riding against people like Leanna is tough, we’re good friends but also have a great rivalry. We train and race together and push each other the whole time.
“The next race for me will be the Cairns round of the nationals series, and it should be really good.”
Meanwhile in the men’s event Juster made good on his ambition to finish on the podium each day of competition, adding a second victory for the weekend. An experienced campaigner at a national level, Juster looked strong in each lap of the track contested and declared the weekend a success.
“I said the other night that I planned on three podiums this weekend, and any win was a bonus,” Juster said.
“So first, second and first place, I am stoked with that.”
Juster’s results further underpin his natural ability as a rider, and add to a stellar year so far that sees the big man from central Australia leading the elite men’s Probikx series. Today’s result also catapulted him into the lead in the AA Pro men’s standings in the Grands Assault National Series.
Despite the strong form, Juster said he hasn’t been training as much due to work commitments, but has made a few changes to better accommodate his tall frame, including the switch to a new bike that is paying dividends.
“I’m working full time now so there isn’t as much time to train, but I get plenty of recovery. That’s probably the key for me, I’m rested coming into each event and am focusing on recovery,” he said.
“I have a lot of motivation going on around me at the moment, I’m being smart with the time that I do have to train and I’m training hard and it is paying off.
“This track is fast, long and suits me. I love the speed.
“I also have a new bike that I have been using since the Shepparton round, which is a bit longer. As a tall guy it suits me better and I can jump out of the start and get better momentum down the track. I am a lot more comfortable on it.”
Japanese rider Asuma Nakai won the second tier A Pro men’s event, while another highlight was 17-32 men’s rider Dirk Winter of Queensland, who like Sakakibara finished with a trio of wins for the weekend.
Leading home the youngest riders of today was Fletcher Klepiak of Victoria in the 10-years boy’s event, while world number one Portia Eden made it three wins from three starts in the 10-years girl’s Grands Assault National Series so far.
Leading the 11-year old’s was Cooper Fox in the boy’s event, picking up where he left off after yesterday’s Oceania titles, and Sacha Mills in the girl’s event to also make it a clean sweep of wins so far in this series.
Like Eden and Mills before him, young talent Thomas Tucker from Pine Rivers BMX Club collected his third win on the trot in this series, while Isabella Schramm of Ashmore BMX Club returned to her winning ways to claim the 12-years girl’s event.
Kiwi rider Karepa Heke Kaiawha was again a winner in the 13 boy’s event, rounding out a strong weekend, while compatriot Megan Willams won in the corresponding girl’s event. In the 14-year’s boy’s event it was another New Zealnder in hot form, Bennett Greenough also picking up another win for the weekend.
In the 14 girl’s Shannon Petre picked up her third win of the weekend, while Oliver Moran and Phoebe Wallen claimed wins in the 15-year-old boy’s and girl’s classes respectively. The 16-year’s were won by Molly McGill and Kiwi Cailen Calkin, both showing good form at a national level.
The 17+ women were led by Toni James of New Zealand who left with a handful of wins for weekend, while Luke Marsh was the best of the bunch in the vet pro men.
The BMX Australia National Series will resume on April 1 and 2 at the Cairns BMX Club in Queensland.