More than a thousand BMX riders will descend on the Apple Isle next week, ready to go bar-to-bar for the coveted national champion title at the 2022 AusCycling BMX Racing National Championships.
Over six days from 21-26 November, riders aged three to 66 from all around the country will participate in Australia’s biggest BMX event at Launceston BMX Club.
Some of the country’s best riding talent will compete for national championship honours, including 2020 Olympian and defending champion Saya Sakakibara, 2016 Olympian Bodi Turner, and 2012 Olympian and former Elite national champion Khalen Young.
The 2022 national championship will be Sakakibara’s first major event since sustaining a serious concussion in Round 3 of the World Cup in June, and the 23-year-old and UCI World #18 will be up against former Elite national champion Erin Lockwood and emerging 16-year-old phenom Teya Rufus in the Superclass category.
Having won multiple rounds of the 2022 BMX National Cup, Rufus has shown strong form in her first year since graduating from juniors, but the Queenslander is keeping her expectations in check ahead of next week.
“Going into this event as one of the youngest in Superclass, I think I don’t really have too much pressure coming from the crowd. It’s really just me. I just need to do my best for myself,” Rufus told AusCycling earlier this week.
“I definitely have a goal of winning Nationals in the 16-year-olds, but I’ll also be racing Superclass, and a podium in that would be insane.”
Rufus also revealed she had spent time working with BMX Racing National Team Coach Sam Willoughby in preparation for the event.
“I’ve been working on building strength. I think that’s definitely something I lack with the bigger girls. I’ve had a pretty good couple of weeks with Sam, so I’m feeling really strong, pretty confident going into it.”
In the men’s competition, a new national champion will be crowned in Launceston next week, as defending champion Izaac Kennedy will be competing in the US.
With Kennedy out, favouritism falls to the likes of UCI World #48 Matt Krasevskis, two-time Elite national champion Alex Cameron, and 2016 Olympian Bodi Turner, and Krasevskis said he still expects the competition to be fierce in Kennedy’s absence.
“There’s still really fast guys competing. Even if we did have Izaac here, I know it wouldn’t just be a walk in the park. You’ve still got Bodi, Max Cairns, and Brad Game. There’s some fast guys out there that have really picked it up a lot, so it should be definitely a fight for the win, that’s for sure,” Krasevskis said.
While still working his way back from an injury suffered at a UCI World Cup round in Columbia earlier this year, the 23-year-old admitted his confidence is returning after training locally over the last few weeks.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have a group of guys to gates with each week and baseline how you’re feeling. I’ve been hitting a few personal records in training, which obviously makes you confident.
“I’ve also been really working on my gates lately, because I know last year, I was behind a little bit which got me pushed out to the outside, so I’ve been really working on my gates and that first straight. If I can have a really good, clean gate and stay smooth down the first straight, there’s no reason I can’t be fighting at the pointy end.”
Other riders to watch include defending Junior Elite champions Tahlia and Joel Marsh, while 16-year-old Josh Jolly has competed strongly in both the Superclass Men’s and Junior Superclass Men’s throughout this year.
The action at the 2022 AusCycling BMX Racing National Championships begins with Pre-Championship races on Monday 21st, followed by the BMX National Round 6 on Wednesday 23rd.
Thursday 24th features the championship events, with Elite categories fighting for Elite National Champion title. Thursday also features our stars of the future in the Mini Wheelers and Sprockets.
Friday 25th will feature all 20” categories, with Superclass, Junior Superclass, and cruiser titles to be decided on Saturday 26, along with the first national championships in the world of Para BMX.
Check out the start list here.
AusCycling BMX Racing National Championship
More information about the 2022 AusCycling BMX Racing National Championships.
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Photo: Get Snapt