Club­mates Hobbs and Petch win na­tional ti­tles

The Timaru Herald - - CATALYST - BMX

Waikato rider Cody Hobbs hopes his BMX na­tional cham­pi­onship vic­tory will spark his goal of com­pet­ing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

A photo-fin­ish was re­quired to con­firm Hobbs as the men’s winner by the nar­row­est of mar­gins from de­fend­ing cham­pion and Rio Olympian Trent Jones, and 2016 ju­nior elite world cham­pion May­nard Peel, in the elite men’s fi­nal at the Christchurch City track on Satur­day.

With the UCI World Cup sea­son clash­ing with the usual tim­ing of the na­tional cham­pi­onships at Easter, the elite ti­tles were in­stead in­cor­po­rated into the South Is­land Cham­pi­onships. The de­ci­sion had largely worked, with ar­guably the strong­est elite fields for some years, and more than 30 riders lin­ing up for the elite hon­ours.

How­ever, Lon­don Olympic sil­ver medallist Sarah Walker even­tu­ally pulled out of the event, with the de­layed sched­ule clash­ing with her plans to at­tend a wed­ding.

In her ab­sence, Hobbs’ Te Awa­mutu club­mate Rebecca Petch, run­ner-up be­hind Walker for the last two years, claimed the women’s elite hon­ours. She edged out Hamil­ton’s Jessie Smith and North Can­ter­bury’s Tahlia Hansen in the fi­nal which com­bined both elite and ju­nior elite riders, while Hamil­ton’s Cailen Calkin won the men’s ju­nior elite fi­nal in an un­beaten day af­ter win­ning all three qual­i­fy­ing mo­tos.

Petch also won all three qual­i­fy­ing mo­tos, while it was a dif­fer­ent story for Hobbs, who fin­ished be­hind 2016 cham­pion Jones in all the three qual­i­fiers. But in the fi­nal, Hobbs had an ex­cel­lent gate to grab the lead in the mid­dle of the track at the first cor­ner.

‘‘I could feel the pres­sure from be­hind and knew both Jones and [May­nard] Peel were com­ing fast. I lunged at the line and hon­estly didn’t know if I had won.’’

‘‘My goal is to ride at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and hope this re­sult re­ally helps,’’ said Hobbs.

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