AusCycling 2023 BMX Racing National Series: Riders to Watch

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After a five-month hiatus, national BMX racing returns in just over two weeks’ time, when the opening rounds of the AusCycling 2023 BMX Racing National Series kick off in Perth.

Having won all three Western Australia State Series events this year, Matthew Blake (Bunbury) should take confidence into the Superclass Men competition, while Matty Tidswell (The Cove) and Noah Elton (San Remo) should also feature prominently following strong early performances in their respective State Series in South Australia and NSW.

2022 National Cup silver medalist Jesse Asmus (Nerang) is another name to watch, while one of the favourites in Perth will be 2022 Superclass National Champion Max Cairns (Park Orchards), who made the move to full-time BMX racing over the last six months.

“I've pretty much relocated myself up to Sydney to train because of the Macarthur supercross track up here. My coach Sean Dwight is also up here and my training partner Andy Hughes. A couple of guys in our training group have come down from Queensland as well, and we've just been getting after it on the supercross track,” Cairns said.

The Victorian, who nominated Dylan Bennetts (Wanneroo) as another rider with a point to prove in Perth, outlined how the decision to go full-time has sharpened his focus for 2023.

“My goal is to complete the whole National Series this year, because it's a shortened schedule with only three stops, and my goal is to win the National Series, like I won the Nationals. And then the goal is to keep the ball rolling and do the domestic races as well as the overseas stuff.

“I’m looking forward to just putting all this hard work that I've done into practice. I quit my job. I've gone full-time into BMX to make it happen. So, my goal is to show the work that I’ve put in.”

Cairns has been attending the National Training Sessions in Brisbane and will race at the Oceania Championships in New Zealand prior to the National Series rounds in Perth. He is optimistic about Australian BMX racers making their mark overseas in 2023.

“I think the big stories this year are going to be the Aussies finally making it on the world stage. Bodi [Turner] has just done well over in America, Izaac [Kennedy] is already over there, and hopefully we can go over and do some damage at the World Cups, just spring-boarding off all this prep we've been doing at Sleeman,” Cairns said.

“Hopefully we can all go overseas and make a bit of a statement.”

In the Superclass Women, Imogen Healy (Tea Tree Gully) has embraced the step up from Junior Superclass this year, with two firsts and a second from three State Series events in South Australia.

“I'm looking forward to being in the top class with all the top riders, competing against them and just having a good time with all the girls and catching up with them. It should be fun,” Healy said.

“Once I go to the National Series, it'll feel more professional. I kind of like the feeling of that though. [My goal is] to win I guess, but I just want to go well and see where I’m at against all the other girls.”

The South Australian also revealed the prospect of competing at the highest level keeps her motivated while training at home.

“It's always been my goal to go to the Olympics, and I want to go to the Worlds in a couple of years. I always look into the future when I'm training, so I can train harder because that motivates me. I want to go well at the Olympics, so I train hard right now.”

Southside BMX product Kesia Savill will also be eager to impress in her home state, while another story emerging in Perth will be the 2022 30+ open wheel National Champion Nicole Thomson from Big Rivers BMX club in Katherine, NT.

While admitting she may not be at the level of Erin Lockwood, Saya Sakakibara, and Ash Gunn, Thomson nonetheless finished second in the opening Superclass round of the WA state series on limited preparation, and revealed how she has prepared for the upcoming season over the last few months.

“I try to call it a 12-week off season; so I do six-week programs and a lot of that is lifting weights. But as you get closer to your racing, it moves into power training and biometrics and you start to increase more bike work. So, just road sprints because we don't always have access to the track, because it rains here quite a bit,” Thomson said.

While she mostly raced in the 30-34 category in national events last year, Thomson has entered the Superclass category in Perth, explaining how the move is part of a broader strategy to increase her competitiveness.

“If you have a look at my NT rounds, I've actually entered 17-to-24 Men and Vet Pro Men. With Superclass, the goal is purely to be mid-pack and to get that race experience that's a little bit more stressful than what I'm used to,” Thomson said.

“When I go over to race in Perth in a couple of weeks, I'm actually moving to Perth. So, I'm really looking forward to getting a lot more track time and a lot more racing in, and meeting a whole bunch of new people.”

Thomson was recently nominated for the NT Sportsperson of the Year award, and like Cairns, also felt a big storyline this year will be the progression of riders along the BMX racing pathway to performing on the world stage.

“I think people are feeling a bit more comfortable moving around the country and around the world, so I think we're going to have a lot more riders over in Glasgow, and I think there needs to be a bit of a focus on riders heading over there, because it leaks right down to your grassroots level,” she said.

“You can show that to your beginner riders, so they're going to feel more comfortable coming up to your state series, and then your state riders are going to feel more comfortable coming up to the national level, and I think it's all just going to flow on.”

While not entered in the opening rounds in Perth, both Thomson and Healy nominated Taya Rufus as someone they enjoy watching race and expect to do well at other national events this year.

In Junior Superclass, AJ Donald (Hawkesbury) and Bailey Seckold (Ashmore) featured prominently in the Men's category in 2022, while Alyssa Howat (Westside) and Erica Goodwin (Penrith) have also performed well at state level this year.


AusCycling 2023 BMX Racing National Series | Round 1 and 2

  • Dates: 22-23 April, 2023
  • Location: Perth, Western Australia
  • Venue: Westside BMX Club, 1 Vasto Pl, Balcatta
  • Times: From 10:30am Saturday and 8:30am Sunday (all times AWST)

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram/ Tik Tok: @AusCyclingAus

More information on the BMX Racing National Series is available here.

The 2022 AusCycling BMX Racing National Series in Perth, WA is proudly supported by the City of Stirling.


Photos: Get Snapt

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