BMXer makes mark

Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - Lau­rilee McMichael

A young Taupo¯ BMX rider with in­ter­na­tional as­pi­ra­tions has had a huge boost to his dreams, be­ing named as a mem­ber of the New Zealand BMX Na­tional Per­for­mance Hub.

The BMX hub is one of eight Cy­cling New Zealand per­for­mance hubs around the coun­try which aim to help sus­tain the fu­ture suc­cess of high per­for­mance cy­cling by in­creas­ing the qual­ity and quan­tity of young rid­ers mov­ing into the elite tier. There are six re­gional cy­cling hubs as well as hubs for moun­tain bike and BMX.

Jono Sar­gi­son, 16, a Year 11 stu­dent at Tauhara Col­lege, spent six days in Te Awa­mutu and Cam­bridge last week at his first BMX hub camp, train­ing with other rid­ers aged from 15 to 19 from around the coun­try in a ful­lon but en­joy­able week.

Jono, who fin­ished fourth in the New Zealand un­der-16-20 cat­e­gory at the 2018 BMX New Zealand Na­tion­als in New Ply­mouth over Easter, ap­plied for the per­for­mance hub ear­lier this year and spent sev­eral days tri­alling dur­ing the last school hol­i­days, but wasn’t con­fi­dent of his chances of be­ing ac­cepted.

“I sort of just heard about it and then all my friends were do­ing it so I thought I might as well join in.

“There were heaps of re­ally fast rid­ers that didn’t get in so I was quite sur­prised when I got in . . . I was pretty happy.”

Jono’s fa­ther Scott says the com­pe­ti­tion for places was in­tense and the rid­ers of a high cal­i­bre, although re­sults were only one of the as­pects the se­lec­tors looked for. “I think prob­a­bly the things that stood out for Jono was the tech­ni­cal skills and his pos­i­tive at­ti­tude.”

The hub is free for the 15 rid­ers who are ac­cepted, but they have to get them­selves to and from the camps and train­ing ses­sions. It is coached by for­mer pro­fes­sional rider Matt Cameron.

The hub squad di­vided its time be­tween the track in Te Awa­mutu and the Velo­drome in Cam­bridge. Par­tic­i­pants did team build­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, fun out­ings such as paint ball, trained at the gym and prac­tised skills such as start gates, cor­ners and lines. It was busy, with the days be­gin­ning at 9am and go­ing through to 4pm or 5pm, but it was also fun.

“It was re­ally cool. I got to hang out with all my friends . . . but it was quite full on. I came home pretty tired.”

From now on, Jono will be spend­ing plenty of time on the road be­tween Taupo¯ and the Waikato, with at least one gym or track ses­sion in Cam­bridge or Te Awa­mutu each week.

There will be some com­pul­sory BMX meets Jono will have to at­tend around the coun­try and pos­si­bly a trip to Aus­tralia next year. Scott says while it’s a bit of a com­mit­ment, Jono is al­ways mo­ti­vated. He never has to be re­minded to train and even on the days he has work ex­pe­ri­ence in­stead of school he will be gone at 7am, work all day and then go out to the track in the evening and do sprints be­fore ris­ing early the next day to get in a gym ses­sion be­fore school.

Jono took up BMX at the age of 9 when the fam­ily was liv­ing in Gis­borne af­ter driv­ing past the lo­cal BMX track with his fam­ily.

“Mum and Dad said ‘oh, it’s a BMX track’ and I said ‘what’s a BMX track?’ and I said I would go down and see, and they got me a bike.”

Seven years later Jono’s been through a few bikes — he cur­rently rides a Pro XL — and his par­ents Scott and Kylie and younger brother Ben­nett have also taken up the sport. Scott and Kylie have held na­tional ti­tles in their age groups and Ben­nett is the cur­rent North Is­land num­ber two.

Jono’s medium term goal is to next year move into the ju­nior elite class with its gap jumps and pro sec­tions and make a na­tional fi­nal in his age group at the BMX Na­tion­als. Longer term, he is aim­ing to be se­lected to go to a world cup com­pe­ti­tion.

His par­ents are proud of the work their son puts in, even if he does beat them on his bike.

“I don’t even bother any more,” Scott says.

“I can beat him out of the gate for the first 2m but that’s all. He started beat­ing me when he was 13 and there was a stage where I just gave up rac­ing him.”

Jono is sup­ported by a Team Taupo¯ Schol­ar­ship.

Photo / Lau­rilee McMichael

Jono Sar­gi­son, 16, has been ac­cepted for the New Zealand BMX Na­tional Per­for­mance Hub.

Photo / Supplied

Jono in ac­tion on the track.

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