Worlds an exciting time
New BMX track will provide more opportunities
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.
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.