Almost 200 riders, 26 winners and a whole lot of great racing happened at Launceston BMX Club today! Report/results

PIC: Southern City Photography

NSW rider Gemma-Lee Thomas and Victorian Hayden Fletcher have scorched to victory in the women and men’s Superclass races at the seventh and final round of the 2018 BMX Australia BAD BOY National Series at the Launceston BMX Club today.

Despite grey skies and showers greeting competitors in Launceston, the conditions fined up throughout the afternoon to ensure that 26 winners from close to 200 riders were found. From 8-year-olds to 50-year-olds, the event was as much about participation as it was elite performance.

At the fast end of town, the women’s Superclass race saw seven NSW riders and one from the ACT, line up on the gate. From the get-go the contest was furious, and the ferocity came down to a sprint finish that saw Castle Hill’s Thomas shade Batemans Bay rider Leah Hearne for victory by just two tenths of a second.

Rounding out the podium was 15-year-old Paige Harding, who snuck underneath Australian junior women’s champion Ashlee Miller in a display of fine race craft. Thomas’ victory at the final bell in 2018 was a result she said came from a calculated push to the line.

“I didn’t try to go too fast in the motos today as it is a massive pedal to the finish here, so in the final I just waited and waited. I got a bit squashed on the inside, but then just launched for the line,” Thomas said.

“I didn’t think I got the win at first, but it is cool that I did. First win this year and first national series win. We had a strong field. This is just awesome to win against a great bunch of girls.”

Meanwhile in the men’s Superclass event it was two Victorian’s lunging for the line, but inevitably Mansfield’s Hayden Fletcher was too good for the highly fancied Max Cairns.

While Cairns can look back on 2018 proudly after rubbing shoulders with former world champions Joris Daudet (France) and Corban Sharrah (USA) for podiums at USA BMX national events earlier in the year, today was all about Fletcher. Following today’s win, Fletcher stated his ambition to make a comeback to the top-flight of Aussie competition following a handful of years that have yielded lean results.

“Today, I just had to stay away from the soft parts of the track after this morning’s rain and get a good gate in the final. I didn’t get a good gate, but I stayed out of the mud which helped,” Fletcher said.  “I’ve been a bit off the last couple of years, haven’t really done anything great. I am just trying to build the engine now for 2019 and see what happens there. Next year’s national champs are in Shepparton, near my home town, so hopefully I can do alright there and try and qualify for the world championships.

“Today was a step in the right direction.”

While Thomas and Fletcher were today’s winners, it was two other riders who finished 2018 as the Superclass series champions.

With each rider’s best three results from the series considered for the overall crown, it was 2016 Australian women’s champion Leanna Curtis from Wollongong, who won the women’s Superclass crown. In the men’s Superclass standings, 16-year-old Oliver Moran from Forster won the title.

Impressively, Moran also won the national series title for the 16-boy’s class.

With the final curtain drawn on the BMX Australia BAD BOY National Series for the year, the next time Australia’s brightest talent converge on a national level event will be at stage one of the 2019 BMXA BAD BOY National Series, to be held at the Sydney BMX Club from February 16-17.