Worlds an ex­cit­ing time

New BMX track will pro­vide more op­por­tu­ni­ties

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS - By EMMA DAWE

They may not have come home with any sil­ver­ware, but the six rid­ers rep­re­sent­ing the Alexan­dra BMX Club at the ICU BMX World Cham­pi­onships in Auck­land last week did Cen­tral Otago proud with their per­for­mances. The team of Danny McEl­hin­ney, com­pet­ing in the over-30 age group, Josh Smith, 13, Lachie James, 9 and his brother Ben, 7, all from Cromwell, Dun­can Suther­land, 12, from Alexan­dra and for­mer Alexan­dra rider, now liv­ing in Aus­tralia, Fletcher Shar­man, 14, were part of an 800-strong New Zealand con­tin­gent com­pet­ing in the cham­pi­onships, which also in­volved rid­ers from 30 coun­tries around the world. Fletcher achieved the best re­sults out of the Cen­tral Otago con­tin­gent, mak­ing the semi­fi­nals of the cruiser cat­e­gory and the quar­ter­fi­nals of the 20-inch cat­e­gory, while Ben was un­lucky to miss out on mak­ing the quar­ter­fi­nals of his age cat­e­gory by just one point. Club mem­ber Gary Smith, from Cromwell, who ac­com­pa­nied the rid­ers, said it was a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence for them and a huge achieve­ment to have made the New Zealand team in the first place. Most of the rid­ers had only been rid­ing for a few years and Mr Smith said they had also been hin­dered by be­ing un­able to train prop­erly dur­ing the win­ter. ‘‘It’s ac­tu­ally the off-sea­son for the New Zealand cy­clists at the mo­ment, but it’s the on-sea­son for most of the rest of the world.’’ He said the cham­pi­onships were all about the ex­pe­ri­ence for the rid­ers, with no real ex­pec­ta­tions. While the lo­cal rid­ers had trained as hard as they could, they were also dis­ad­van­taged by a lack of rac­ing com­pe­ti­tion. Mr Smith hoped that would change when the pro­posed Cromwell bike park got the go-ahead. The park would in­clude a BMX track and Mr Smith said hope­fully more rid­ers would be at­tracted to the sport.

Photo: SUP­PLIED

Well done: Cen­tral Otago was well rep­re­sented at the re­cent ICU BMX World Cham­pi­onships, in Auck­land, with six rid­ers rep­re­sent­ing the Alexan­dra BMX Club. Pic­tured at the cham­pi­onships are: (clock­wise from bot­tom left) Ben James, 7, from Cromwell, Dun­can Suther­land, 12, Alexan­dra, Danny McEl­hin­ney, Cromwell, Josh Smith, 13, Cromwell and Lachie James, 9, Cromwell. Ab­sent was Fletcher Shar­man, 14, who is now based in Aus­tralia but who rep­re­sented the Alexan­dra club.

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