Curtis Oceanic Champion!
Bathurst NSW was the venue for Round 3 of the BMXA National Series and the Oceanic Champs with some of New Zealand's best ready to race. Riders where at the mercy of the weather over the weekend with high winds and rain to contend with early on.
Leanna Curtis travelled with the academy team to Bathurst. "We arrived Wednesday afternoon and had two sessions booked on Thursday. The morning session was awesome and I felt good on the track straight away. The weather turned bad that afternoon and continued to be undesirable for racing on Friday. Friday night was the third round of the National Series, after practice the decision was made that the strong winds were too dangerous so we had to ride off the 5m hill. After some inconsistent starts in the motos I had qualified in 6th for the final which gave me an outside lane. My start was pretty good in the final but I was unable to get all the way across and Sarah Walker had a decent lead. After I made a pass on NZ rider Rebecca Patch, I was hunting down Sarah but didn't get there in time, placing 2nd. Saturday was the Oceania Championship and the wind was still there but not quite as bad, I was determined to be riding off the 8m and was glad the officials agreed. I had clean motos and qualified first for the final. My start was average but I stepped it up down the hill and gained the lead after the first jump, I was then able to ride my own lap and win my first race of the year. Sundays racing was with all the fast young girls coming through and was more of a challenging day. I was given some tips for the gate start by one of my childhood heros and was amazed at how much it helped, my starts were all faster and more consistent on Sunday and after placing 2nd behind Saya Sakakibara I was still happy with the progress I had made with my starts & will continue to work on this area and looking forward to the national titles next month."
Bathurst was a successful weekend for Katie Van Zanden. "After making 3 of 3 finals over the weekend and racing my first ever Oceanic Event I was pretty happy with how I placed. I got thirds in my motos all day Friday and Saturday and placed 6th in both finals which I was impressed with. Sunday racing wasn't as good as I'd hoped it to be but I still made final and came home 8th. A massive thanks to my sponsors for there endless support throughout these events!"
Having some race practice on the track a week earlier definitely helped Ethan Pal get the feel of some of the changes on the Bathurst track. "I knew the weather was going to be playing up but whatever we got we had to ride in. On Friday it was very windy and rain was coming out way, I cruised through the Motos with a 1st, 2nd, 2nd. Feeling good with second pick for the semi, coming out of lane 1 I had a good first straight but unclipped and quickly got my foot back in, I managed to qualify through to main with 8th pick. I got a bit caught up in the first straight and was in 5th but got passed to finish in 6th. Perfect weather which was a bonus for the Grands challenge racing. I had some good motos finishing 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, I had second pick for the semi and had a clean lap and was moving through into second and got pushed up the corner and blocked so I couldn't put any pedals in so I didn't qualify for main. I was really happy with my performance this weekend and was definitely a improvement. Can't wait to get back into full swing of training and hopefully keep getting better and better."
Matt Hollibone was ready for a great weekend, each gate in the Elite Men class was stacked with competition, Matt unfortunately not transferring to the mains, we look forward to seeing Matt race in Cairns in a few weeks. Lleyton Pal was still sidelined after his heavy crash in Round 2 at Shepparton a few weeks ago. CBR Co-Factorys Noah Elton raced the Oceanic Champs on Saturday, looking very strong all day, Noah bringing home a well earned 5th! Congrats!
Image by Bruce Morris