Rhys beats the Spain bar­rier

RIDER HELPS TEAM TO A SPOT ON PODIUM

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - SPORT - Danielle Jarvis

WHA­LAN mo­tocross rider Rhys Budd helped make Aus­tralian history in Spain ear­lier this month.

The 14-year-old com­peted against 39 oth­ers in the 85cc class in two races at the World Ju­nior Mo­tocross Cham­pi­onships over the July 18-19 week­end in El Mo­lar, Spain.

Af­ter qual­i­fy­ing sev­enth in the heats, Rhys placed eighth in the world, mak­ing him the high­est ranked Aus­tralian in his class at the com­pe­ti­tion this year.

The rank was an im­prove­ment on the last time Rhys com­peted in the cham­pion- ships in 2012, when he placed 12th in the 65cc class.

Rhys’s rank com­bined with 125cc rider Hunter Lawrence’s third place earned Team Aus­tralia third place.

Aus­tralia had pre­vi­ously failed to make the podium since it be­gan com­pet­ing in the world cham­pi­onships in 2009.

“It makes me re­ally happy to be part of mak­ing Aus­tralian history,” Rhys said.

“It’s such an hon­our to rep­re­sent your coun­try.

“I’m just re­ally re­lieved be­cause I was re­ally get­ting bad starts – I was the last per­son out of the gate in both races – but I got some good cor­ner speed and hard break­ing.”

Rhys’s fa­ther Damien Coutts said it was a sur­prise.

“I was shocked,” Mr Coutts said. “I didn’t think it was go­ing to hap­pen.

“I was ac­tu­ally walk­ing away from the pre­sen­ta­tion cer­e­mony.

“We didn’t think we’d get on the podium.

“It didn’t even cross my mind that Team Aus­tralia was get­ting on the podium.”

This week­end, Rhys will com­pete in the Vic­to­rian state cham­pi­onships be­fore com­pet­ing in the NSW ti­tles the fol­low­ing week­end.

Next year, he will move up from 85cc to the 125cc class.

Pic­ture: SYLVIA KOSAK

Rhys Budd com­petes at the World Ju­nior Mo­tocross Cham­pi­onships in July.

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