Imogen Healy emerged as one of the Superclass Women riders to watch in 2023, while Jesse Asmus won both finals of the Superclass Men’s competition in dramatic fashion at this weekend’s AusCycling BMX National Series in Perth.
Competitors were greeted with warm temperatures and low winds throughout the weekend, perfect conditions for a fast Westside track that features an aggressive pro-straight and that demands both power and technique from riders.
Having won their respective semi-finals, Max Cairns (Park Orchards) and Matt Tidswell (The Cove) were the riders to beat heading into the Superclass Men’s final, and it was Tidswell, starting from Gate 1, that led all riders through the first two turns.
However, Jesse Asmus (Nerang) chased Tidswell down and as happened at the Under-23 Oceania Championships recently, passed Tidswell on the final straight to claim the win, with Cairns a further 0.5 seconds behind.
Asmus’ motivation in the final was to put himself in a position to win.
“Coming into the final, I just wanted to not focus on anyone else and focus on getting a clean straight to myself, and then if I can do that, I’ll be in a good position. Thankfully I was able to get around the first turn decently, and then a mistake on the second straight from Matty and I was able to capitalise on that and chase Matty down the last straight,” Asmus said.
Imogen Healy (Tea Tree Gully) put together a flawless opening round in the Superclass Women, convincingly winning all three motos and leading the final from start to finish, cruising to victory by 1.5 seconds. 15-year-old Kindle Rapley (Westside) took silver on her home track, while another Perth local Kesia Savill (Southside) claimed bronze.
Despite admitting it wasn’t her best lap of the day, Healy was obviously pleased with the result.
“It was my first Superclass race, nationally. So I was really happy to win. I set little goals, like jumping into the berm and just getting through the third straight, because that’s not an easy straight. I don’t think it was my best lap to be honest. My jumps into the corners weren’t the best, but still pushed through,” Healy said.
Host club Westside secured a one-two finish in the Junior Superclass Women. The dominant rider in the category all day, Alyssa Howat led clubmate Danielle Bastian to the finish, with Ivy Westbrook (Wanneroo) making it a clean sweep for Western Australia in third.
In the Junior Superclass Men’s final, AJ Donald (Hawksbury) held off a fast-finishing Cameron Gatt (Geelong) to win by 0.042 seconds, with Mandurah’s Declan McGhee in third.
It was a case of déjà vu in the Superclass Men’s final. Matt Tidswell again led the field into the first corner and held a strong position throughout the race, only to be run down in the final straight by Jesse Asmus.
Speaking to SBS On Demand, Tidswell said an aggressive mindset helped him take the win.
“I didn’t get down the first straight too well, but I was just aggressive in the turns because they hold pretty well. [They’re] pretty good because if you attack them, you get a bit of a pop-out of them with little bit of extra speed, so pretty much just being aggressive and just trying to put myself in a position to pass riders,” Asmus said.
“A few lines down the straights helped me through, like the manual hop at the last turn. I feel like it got me a bit of extra speed. Got a bit loose down the last straight, but wasn’t too loose, so I managed to get it, so it feels good.”
With another dominant performance in the Superclass Women’s final, Imogen Healy has staked a claim as one of the best emerging riders in 2023. Throughout the weekend, Healy demonstrated the skills, power, and technique to compete against more established riders, despite it being her first year in the Superclass category.
Healy led the final from Gate 8, jumping into the step-up before the first turn and leaving a battle for second behind her. At the finish, just half a second separated Kindle Rapley (Westside), Cheralee White (Nerang), and Kesia Savill (Southside), with Rapley and White taking out second and third respectively.
In the Junior Superclass Women, Alyssa Howatt (Westside) cleared a major crash on the first turn to win by almost three seconds. Danielle Bastian (Westside) and Sasha Jeffery (Mandurah) came through the carnage to take the minor placings.
The Junior Superclass Men had a nervous wait leading into their final, with AJ Donald (Hawkesbury) needing time to fix a mechanical fault at the gate. However, Donald made it the starting line and led from start to finish, with Declan McGhee (Mandurah) holding off Cameron Gatt (Geelong) by 0.005 seconds for the silver medal.
The National Series will now head to Macarthur BMX Club in NSW, with Rounds 3 and 4 taking place over the weekend of 8-9 July.
Main Photo: Mel Cook Photography