Taranaki rider Matt Cameron took his first step towards his dream of the Rio Olympics when he won the elite men’s honours at the 2015 BMX National Championships in Christchurch.
Cameron, the 2012 champion, was the form rider throughout, winning all three qualifying motos and the final from the front.
North Harbour’s Michael Bias was second with Cameron’s fellow Cycling New Zealand high performance squad teammate Kurt Pickard (Tauranga) third.
The trio, among others, will head to UK on Sunday night to compete in the opening round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Manchester.
While Cameron is one of the more experienced of the elite riders, the women’s winner was at the other end of the scale.
Sixteen-year-old Te Awamutu rider Rebecca Petch, a multi national and world medallist, won all three races in the combined women’s division, claiming the national elite junior title, with runner-up Victoria Hill (Taranaki) awarded the elite honours.
Cameron was pleased with his efforts as he sets his goals on next year’s Rio Olympics.
“The motos felt good. I went hard to the first corner and then backed off. But the final I let it loose and pretty much led from the start to finish,” Cameron said.
“The national title is always one I strive for. At this time in my career it is a confidence-boost and step in the right direction knowing that the international season is coming up.
“I have little steps and goals along the way to get to Rio. This is the first step and the next will be the two World Cup meets to get a place into the world’s team, and on from there.
“I have the big goal of Rio and I just need to focus on progressive, achievable steps along the way and the confidence to keep pushing forward. This is a good start.”
Petch, a first year junior was all class in the elite women’s ranks. She has won a national title for each of the last 10 years and won world championship medals in two of the last three years.
“Rebecca is someone we have had our eye on for a while now and we get to see quite a bit of her as we often train at Te Awamutu track,” BMX head coach Ryan Hollows said.
“It is impressive for a first year junior and she was the dominant rider today.”
With Sarah Walker scratched with a knee injury, Hill, the defending champion, finished second to Petch to claim the elite honours.
There are approximately 1000 race entries from riders aged from four years to over 70 years in the championships at the Christchurch City club from Friday until Sunday.
Also in action today were the Cruiser Class and the Mighty 11s Test team trial, with the nationals for 11 years and under and the Superclass Elite racing on Saturday and New Zealand titles for 12 years and over and championship selection races on Sunday.
Elite Results, elite men final: Matt Cameron (New Plymouth) 1, Michael Bias (North Harbour) 2, Kurt Pickard (Tauranga) 3, Cody Stevens (Tauranga) 4, Daniel Franks (North Avon Christchurch) 5.
Elite women: Rebecca Petch (Te Awamutu) 1, Victoria Hill (New Plymouth) 2, Zoe Fleming (Papakura) 3, Courtney Brunton (Te Awamutu) 4, Hannah Sarten (Te Awamutu) 5.
Junior men: Codi Merito (Te Awamutu) 1, Liam Perry (Kapiti) 2, James Nattrass (Papakura) 3.
Caption: Matt Cameron in action at the BMX National Championships in Christchurch. Photo credit: Nicky Felton.