Tauranga BMXer Karepa Heke Kaiawha is an Oceania champ, who has a ranking of seventh in the world – and this week he added record-breaker to his list of achievements.
The 13-year-old is competing in the Year 8 Boys BMX races during this week’s Anchor AIMS Games at the Tauranga BMX Club, where he broke a track record on Tuesday with his time of 37.27 seconds, beating the previous best time by about .30 seconds.
He was thrilled to have broken the record and hoped to continue his success when racing resumed today.
“He’s pretty stoked about it, that’s what he wanted to do,” his dad, Des Heke said.
Karepa began racing eight years ago when his dad bought him his first race bike – a Haro Mini Race Bike – for his fifth birthday.
“He loved riding his bike, and I took him to the local track when he was about three,” Heke said.
Heke said Karepa had been racing ever since and had achieved so much in the sport he seemed to be a natural at.
The Oceania champ gained the ranking of World number seven during the UCI BMX World Championships in Rock Hill in South Carolina, where he raced in the 13 Years class in July.
Currently ranked number two in New Zealand in his age group, Karepa will come up against his biggest BMX rival – and one of his best mates – New Zealand number one James Whyte, during today’s AIMS Games time trials.
Heke said their races were always good ones to watch because it was too close a race to call until the end.
Heke said both Karepa and Whyte, from Tuakau, had travelled to the Worlds together and described the BMX community like “a big family” who were always supportive.
Although the pair battle it out on the track, off track the pair are good mates and spent most of their day off from BMX racing on Wednesday watching some AIMS Games rugby clashes – another sport that Karepa boasts skills in.
During this week’s AIMS Games, Karepa is also part of Tauranga Intermediate’s sevens side, but with his main focus being in BMX, Heke said his son was taking a more supportive role.
“It’s a good team balance, playing among family and friends.”
– Bay of Plenty Times