Rhys beats the Spain barrier
RIDER HELPS TEAM TO A SPOT ON PODIUM
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.
Rhys Budd competes at the World Junior Motocross Championships in July.