The first world cup rounds in Australia since 2009 have come and gone in a flash, with the top riders in the world heading Down Under. For a handful of young Aussies, it was a massive opportunity to test themselves.
The early rounds of the UCI BMX SX World Cup were extremely pivotal this year with the Olympics just around the corner and very few places available for the showdown in Tokyo.
Nevertheless, the world cup in Australia presented some of Australia’s youngest talents an opportunity to compete, learn and challenge themselves against the likes of world number ones Niek Kimmann and Laura Smulders, current Olympic gold medallists Connor Fields and Mariana Pajon and heavyweights of the sport Carlos Ramierz Yepes, Alise Willoughby and David Graff.
Shannon Petre, Georgia Potter, Patrick Bognar, Diesel Connor, Jayden Keogh, Marcus Wigg and Ethan Zrna were the seven youngest riders in the first two rounds of the world cup at Shepparton.
Jesse Asmus, Harrison Davis and Morgan Seward are a part of the crew born in 2003 as well and were due to compete at Bathurst, however due to the bizarre weather they didn’t get a shot.
All these riders have danced with the best in Australia for their age group, some even the world, but coming up against the best of the best athletes in their prime was a completely new mission!
Georgia Potter of Happy Valley pegged the world cup rounds as her favourite events she has ever competed, stating the experience was amazing.
“To race against someone like Alise (Willoughby) who I’ve looked up too for a while was surreal, I never thought I would be racing against them, especially in my first year as a junior elite.” Potter said.
Potter felt at home at Shepparton, with her home track Happy Valley and Shepparton her favourite tracks. However, 2020 Potter stated will be her biggest year yet.
“On the national stage I’ve been a little unlucky so far, I want to change that. “
“I was a little worried going into the world cup that I was going to do poorly but I pushed myself and I did better than I thought I would,”
“This is my biggest takeaway, now seeing the best, I want to reach that, and the only way is to train hard, nationals is a big goal for me,” Potter indicated, as her goal for 2020.
Joining Potter on the world’s stage in the men’s ledger was Ethan Zrna of Mildura, who was racing at a world cup, in his home state and felt more relaxed than he thought he would at his first world cup event.
“It was a little bit easier than expected, as I felt there wasn’t as much pressure for me going into the race as I was out there to have some fun,” Zrna stated.
The current Victorian state champion, a title he has held for the last six years, loved every moment of his time during the world cup, even though it was just the four races.
“I got to race against Kai (Sakakibara) and Izaac (Kennedy) which was awesome but to even see the likes of Niek Kimmann and Connor Fields a couple tents over from you was amazing,”
This will be Zrna’s first national championships as a junior elite and the teen stated this year was all about experience, with the world cup rounds the perfect way to start the year.
“The biggest take away from the world cup was the importance of the mental game, seeing how the pros deal with it all Is something I need to add to my game,”
“This year will be big for me in being consistent, making sure I get through every lap and hold my own game.”
You can check out all the results of the Australian rounds of the world cup HERE
National Championships entries close tomorrow night for challenge riders, make sure you register HERE