BMX racer ready to take on world
Six months after taking up BMX, Orlando Hansen is preparing to compete against some of the top riders in the world.
In July, the 17- year- old Matamata College student will compete in the UCI World BMX Championship at Vector Arena in Auckland.
‘‘I have really no idea what’s going to happen,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s just going to be an experience; even if I don’t get anywhere, it will still be amazingly cool to see all the different people there.’’
Hansen qualified at the BMX National Championships at his home club in Cambridge last month.
He is ranked 14th in New Zealand in the cruiser class (24-inch wheels) for riders aged 17 to 29.
‘‘Nationals was my fourth proper race ever. I was excited – there was over 1000 riders and five or so thousand spectators,’’ he said.
‘‘It was just cool being able to see everyone and the skill that’s there and these kids that are 7 or 8 that are really good, it’s crazy.’’
Hansen had always biked around and done jumps with mates and became interested in BMX after visiting the track in Cambridge. ‘‘I went to a club night and I was hooked. ‘‘It’s the freedom of being able to do it, being able to jump ... it’s completely different than just thinking about it. It’s an adrenaline rush.’’
He now travels to Cambridge twice a week for training and has competed against Olympic silver medallist Sarah Walker.
Entry fees and the official kit for the World Championships are expensive and Hansen is trying to raise funds to help cover the costs.
He is selling raffle tickets for a painting by his mum, Roxanne, the owner of Pumpkin Heads Art Studio. Tickets are for sale at the studio.
In action: BMX racer Orlando Hansen competing at the nationals in Cambridge earlier this year.