London Olympian Kurt Pickard turned up the heat in the hot conditions to claim the BikeNZ BMX National Championship in Cambridge today.
After winning the final round of the summer series on Friday, Pickard paced himself throughout a hot testing day, finishing second in the morning Superclass, cruising through the championship motos and then nailing the final in emphatic fashion.
In the absence of Olympic silver medallist Sarah Walker, recovering from shoulder surgery, Taranaki’s Victoria Hill proved dominant in the elite women’s ranks, winning the Superclass and was unbeaten in all four races on the way to defending her national title.
There were record entries with more than 1000 event entries in elite and age group races as riders from four years to over 70 years vied for championship titles and also selection for July’s UCI BMX World Championships in Auckland.
The championships doubled as the final selection event for the worlds to be staged at Vector Arena on 24-28 July, with age group selection for the Challenge classes due to be announced on Tuesday and the elite team named on Wednesday.
“It’s been a competitive process with a series of selection events over the summer culminating in this weekend, along with their previous international form to be considered,” said BikeNZ BMX High Performance Coach Ryan Hollows.
“Marc Willers is the only automatic entry for the elite classes based on his world ranking and Sarah applied for a medical dispensation following her surgery.
“The battle for the other spots in the team is tight with an encouraging depth of quality across the board in the elite women, elite men and elite juniors.”
Pickard scored his second national open title with a solid result for the Tauranga rider who is preparing towards the world championships.
“It was a lot of racing today in this heat and a long break after racing two different competitions in the morning. So it was important to hydrate well and also prepare really well,” Pickard said.
“It’s always good to win a national title and now I look forward to the world champs selection. Really my training has been geared towards building for upcoming international competitions and the world championships in July.”
Big Taranaki rider Matt Cameron continued his excellent form with victory in the morning Superclass with three wins in the motos, two seconds and a final victory for the overall honours ahead of Pickard.
He topped qualifying in the championship with three straight wins but had to bow to Pickard who nailed the start and dominated the final.
Local Cambridge rider Kurt James proved consistent throughout to finish third in the Superclass and third in the national championship.
With Willers automatically selected, there are 12 riders chasing the five spots in the team for the world championships in the elite men.
With Walker sidelined, Hill had the opportunity to assert herself with just two spots up for grabs for elite women.
She enjoyed a faultless morning with four straight wins in the Superclass and her two wins and a second in the afternoon was sufficient to secure the national title.
Fellow Taranaki rider Hayley Gedye was second in the championship races just ahead of young Gisborne rider Monique Smith.
The unlucky rider was New Plymouth’s Hannah Sarten, who won Friday’s selection event but broke her wrist in a fall although she will still be in world championship consideration.
The Te Awamutu pair of Cody Hobbs and Ryan Lewis dominated the junior elite division.
Results, BikeNZ BMX National Championships, Cambridge:
Elite: Kurt Pickard (Tauranga) 1, Matt Cameron (New Plymouth) 2, Kurt James (Cambridge) 3.
Junior Elite: Cody Hobbs (Te Awamutu) 1, Ryan Lewis (Te Awamutu) 2, Jarrod Browning (Cambridge) 3.
4 and under: mixed: L Runciman (Cambridge) 1, M McFarlane (North Harbour) 2, J Phillips (Christchurch City) 3.
5-6 years: Rory Meek (Dunedin) 1, Kalan Evans (North Harbour) 2, Sam Cannon (East City) 3.
7 years: Lucas Bhimy (North Harbour) 1, Ryan Hastings (Rotorua) 2, Lewis Atkinson (Mountain Raiders) 3.
8 years: Jack Greenough (Cambridge) 1, Tipene Kennedy (Kapiti) 2, Maui Morrison (Hutt Valley) 3.
9 years: James Whyte (Mountain Raiders) 1, Logan Hall (Cambridge) 2, Daniel Butterworth (Rotorua) 3.
10 years: Rico Bearman (Waitakere ) 1, Jack Keown (Christchurch City) 2, Boston Caldwell (North Harbour) 3.
11 years: Ryan Martin (Cambridge) 1, Tasman Wakelin (Nelson) 2, Cody Wareham (Christchurch City) 3.
12 years: Cailen Calkin (Hamilton) 1, Tuhoto-Ariki Pene (Rotorua) 2, Ronan Millar (Cambridge) 3.
13 years: Mark Harland-Croft (Taupo) 1, Ryan Jordan (Hamilton) 2, Logan Hirst (Taupo) 3.
14 years: Maynard Peel (Sunset Coast) 1, Kieran Ngatai (Tauranga) 2, Jayden Fleming (Papakura) 3.
15 years: Lewis Smith (Gisborne) 1, Bayleigh Rees (Papakura) 2, Josh Smith (Te Awamutu) 3.
16 years: Cody Merito (Te Awamutu) 1, Liam Perry (Kapiti) 2, James Nattrass (Papakura) 3.
17-24 years: Jayden Davy (New Plymouth) 1, Cayleb Martin (Christchurch City) 2, Jono Varty (Kaiapoi) 3.
25-29 years: Adam Coker (East City) 1, Jason Kelly (Hamilton) 2, John Hayes (Hamilton) 3.
30 years plus: Tony Wilcock (Hamilton) 1, Kurt Bagby (East City) 2, Dave Mohi (Rotorua) 3.
Masters 30 plus: Corey Stafford (Papakura) 1, Glen Ogle (Nelson) 2, Darryl Winsor (Rotorua) 3.
Cruiser class, male 12 and under: Callen Calkin (Hamilton) 1, Ryan Martin (Cambridge0 2, Zach Peterson (Rotorua) 3.
13-14 years: Maynard Peel (Sunset Coast) 1, Harris Thurgood (Cambridge) 2, James Reddish (Kaiapoi) 3.
15-16 years: Codi Merito (Te Awamutu) 1, Liam Perry (Kapiti) 2, Daniel Bowers-Wilson (North Avon Chch) 3.
17-29 years: Adam Coker (East City) 1, Cameron Petch (Te Awamutu) 2, Jono Varty (Kaiapoi) 3.
30-34 years: Mike Reader (Hawera) 1, Kurt Bagby (East City) 2, Lance Dinsdale (Whangarei0 3.
35-39 years: Steven Schimanski (Hawera) 1, Craig Hutchinson (North Harbour) 2, Bevan Brown (Sunset Coast) 3.
40-44 years: Dave Mohi (Rotorua) 1, Richie McLachlan (Papakura) 2, Scott Hazlewood (North Harbour) 3.
45 plus: Paul Luttrell (Hamilton) 1, Ash Rawson (Tauranga) 2, Doug Matheson (North Harbour) 3.
Elite: Victoria Hill (New Plymouth) 1, Hayley Gedye (New Plymouth) 2, Monique Smith (Gisborne) 3.
5-7 years: Sage Piebenga (New Plymouth) 1, Sacha Earnest (Mountain Raiders) 2, Greer Hall (Cambridge) 3.
8 years: Leila Walker (Cambridge) 1, Brooke Penny (Te Awamutu) 2, Caitlin Flavell (Rotorua) 3.
9 years: Megan Williams (Rotorua) 1, Lucy Macready (North harbour) 2, Zoe Hartwell (Papakura) 3.
10 years: Ruby Laidlaw (Southland) 1, Makayla Ranken (Papakura) 2, Breeanne Stuart (Mountain Raiders) 3.
11 years: Ella Hansen (Rangiora) 1, Kayla Meltzer (Kaiapoi) 2, Charlie Lester-Rosson (Taupo) 3.
12 years: Kaly Harcourt (Hamilton) 1, Baylee Luttrell (Hamilton0 2, Jessie Smith (Gisborne) 3.
13 years: Jordan Donaldson (North Harbour) 1, Paris Dixon (North Harbour) 2, Mackenzie Roberts-Craig (Sunset Coast) 3.
14 years: Shania Rawson (Tauranga) 1, Julia Carter-Bell (Whangarei) 2, Delainey Beck (Wainuiomata) 3.
15 years: Rebecca Petch (Te Awamutu) 1, Zoe Fleming (Papakura) 2, Courtney Brunton (Te Awamutu) 3.
16 years: Tahlia Hansen (Rangiora) 1, Summer Lucas (Southland) 2, Taylor Smith (Gisborne) 3.
17 years plus: Holly Woodcock-Takurua (Sunset Coast) 1, Shannon Alexander (Christchurch City) 2, Melissa Were (Hawera) 3.
Cruiser, 16 years and under: Rebecca Petch (Te Awamutu) 1, Tahlia Hansen (Rangiora) 2, Abby Fox (Gisborne) 3.
17-29 years: Alice Rika (Papakura) 1, Toni James (Waitakere) 2, Melissa Were (Hawera) 3.
30 years plus: Vanessa Quin (Tauranga) 1, Tess Bates (East City) 2, Melissa Giles (Taupo) 3.
Superclass, female: Victoria Hill (New Plymouth) 1, Monique Smith (Gisborne) 2, Hayley Gedye (New Plymouth) 3.
Male: Matt Cameron (new Plymouth) 1, Kurt Pickard (Tauranga) 2, Kurt James (Cambridge) 3.