Clubmates Hobbs and Petch win national titles
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.