Young Hornby rider tops the na­tion

Christchurch Mail - - MOTORING - MATTHEW SAL­MONS

He may be young, but he’s the best in his grade and the one to watch when it comes to BMX.

Hornby’s Austin Stronach, 5, took home his sec­ond na­tional ti­tle in the sport at the 2018 BMX New Zealand Na­tion­als over Easter Week­end, tak­ing top spot in the Sprock­ets 6 Boys.

Af­ter crash­ing in his first moto (heat), Austin came back to win his next three, al­low­ing him pick of lane for the fi­nal.

‘‘I picked lane five, it’s the re­ally fast lane. It’s the straight­est and gets me into the cor­ner first,’’ he said.

His fa­ther Michael said Austin had taken to rid­ing ‘‘like a duck to wa­ter’’, his older club­mates com­ment­ing he rode at a level three or four years older than he was.

The fam­ily lived across the road from the Kyle Park BMX Track, mak­ing it ‘‘in­evitable that one [of the kids] would get into it,’’ Austin’s mum Lee-Anne said.

The draw of the track had en­ticed both the fam­ily’s chil­dren into rid­ing with Christchurch City BMX Club (CCBC), Austin’s sis­ter Mykiala, 7, was the ‘‘friendly rider’’ of the pair, LeeAnne said.

Austin had started rid­ing at three-years-old, head­ing across the road to ride down the Kyle Park track’s start hill.

‘‘He’s a pretty de­ter­mined lit­tle fella with any­thing he does. It’s nice to see he’s found a sport he loves. We’re re­ally proud of him,’’ Michael said.

Lee-Anne said the fam­ily just needed to re­mind Austin that he was still only five when it came to ex­pand­ing his tricks from wheel­ies and jumps.

‘‘He can’t do the back­flips yet,’’ she said.

Even with the sea­son fin­ished, Michael said the fam­ily would have no trou­ble keep­ing Austin keen on head­ing over the road to train.

Austin was also crowned num- ber one in his grade in the South Is­land in Jan­uary. Michael said he was build­ing his hopes Austin could ‘‘get the three-pete’’.

‘‘We’ll go up to the North Is­land Champs next year, see if we can take it off the North­ern­ers,’’ Michael said.

Al­though he was the only CCBC rider to take home an NZ1 rat­ing, the club had eight other riders in the top 10 of their re­spec­tive grades.

For the fu­ture, Austin was in­ter­ested in be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional rider. His goal in the mean­time?

‘‘Not crash,’’ he said.

MATTHEW SAL­MONS/STUFF

Austin Stronach, 5, with his na­tional tro­phies from the 2018 BMX New Zealand Na­tion­als.

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