BMX racer ready to take on world

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - By NI­COLA STE­WART ni­cola.ste­wart@wrcn.co.nz

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.

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