BMX rider on a roll at world cham­pi­onship

Te Awamutu Courier - - News - BY COLIN THORSEN

Te Awa­mutu rider Re­becca Petch con­tin­ued her me­te­oric rise up the elite women’s peck­ing or­der, fin­ish­ing 11th over­all at the UCI BMX World Cham­pi­onships in Baku, Azer­bai­jan.

The 19 year old im­proved four spots on her 15th plac­ing when mak­ing an elite de­but ap­pear­ance last year in Rock­hill, South Carolina.

The na­tional cham­pion qual­i­fied with two sec­onds and a third plac­ing in her mo­tos, then placed fourth in her quar­ter-fi­nal and sixth (just be­hind her New Zealand team mate Sarah Walker) in the semi-fi­nal to fin­ish 11th over­all.

“I’m head­ing in the right di­rec­tion, it’s on­wards and up­wards from here,” said Petch on her re­turn home.

“The level of com­pe­ti­tion was cer­tainly up a notch this year. Ev­ery­one is get­ting bet­ter.

“I’m rapt with the way I per­formed both prior to and at the worlds.”

The UCI ninth ranked rider in the world went into the world champs fresh from mak­ing the fi­nal at the World Cup meet­ing in Bel­gium in May. She ended up fin­ish­ing sev­enth in her first World Cup fi­nal.

A week later Petch made the podium twice in the one week­end at the Euro Cup round Blegny in Bel­gium.

“It’s the best pre­pared I have ever been in, both phys­i­cally and men­tally, go­ing into a World cham­pi­onship,” said Petch.

“The fact that I had no in­juries to worry about gave me con­fi­dence on the bike, al­low­ing me to con­cen­trate solely on the rac­ing.”

Petch said the last seven weeks in Europe have been amaz­ing.

“I truly have been liv­ing the dream, but none of this would of been pos­si­ble with­out the sup­port of my spon­sors, mum and dad and all my fam­ily and friends back home.”

She will now take a week off to freshen up be­fore do­ing ‘test­ing’ with her coach, Matt Cameron.

Her next ma­jor as­sign­ment is the Ar­gentina World Cup round in Septem­ber which has Olympic qual­i­fy­ing points up for grabs.

“I will be fronting at as many World Cup rounds as phys­i­cally pos­si­ble in my quest to gain Olympic se­lec­tion for Tokyo 2020,” said Petch.

“I am on the right track, I’ve just got to keep work­ing hard.”

New Zealand must be among the top five BMX coun­tries in the world for New Zealand to be el­i­gi­ble to se­lect two elite women for Tokyo, and Petch and Walker are do­ing ev­ery­thing in their pow­ers to make this hap­pen.

Team­mate Cody Hobbs (Te Awa­mutu), the na­tional cham­pion, did not progress past the qual­i­fy­ing phase. He had the mis­for­tune to crash in his first and third mo­tos, re­sult­ing in two sev­enth plac­ings and a DNF.

Te Awa­mutu rid­ers Ab­bie Os­born and Cooper Mer­ito ex­celled in their re­spec­tive 15 year girls’ and boys’ Chal­lenge (age group) classes.

Os­born showed her world class ca­pa­bil­i­ties plac­ing fifth, third and first in mo­tos, qual­i­fy­ing for the semi-fi­nal where she placed sixth — only the top four progress to the fi­nal.

Mer­ito was equally im­pres­sive in the mo­tos, record­ing a brace of third plac­ings and a sec­ond, qual­i­fy­ing for the first round elim­i­na­tion. He ex­ited at that stage af­ter plac­ing sixth, not helped by slip­ping in the cor­ner.

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