After 15 years of trying Melissa Were finally got her hands on a national BMX title.
Were, who lives in Gore, was part of the Hāwera BMX Club’s 23-strong team who competed in the BMX NZ Nationals in Auckland over Easter weekend.
The 23-year-old won the 17-24 year Female Cruiser title and finished fifth in the 17-24 year Female 20 inch class.
“It’s been a lifetime of waiting, I couldn’t believe it. My first ever nationals competition was on this track in 2004 and I finished fifth,” she said.
“I wanted to achieve my goal and and go out and get my NZ1, I’ve had a lot of NZ2’s.”
Were, who took up the sport as a 7-year-old, said she wanted to go out and give it all at the Easter competition as it would be her final race for two years while she put her BMX dreams on hold to focus on her career as a dairy farmer.
Although Were grew up in Hāwera, she and partner Clay Taylor live and work on a dairy farm in Gore, where they have been for seven years.
The good news wasn’t confined to the BMX track either. Once she arrived home from the competition there was one more surprise, Taylor proposed.
“Now I’ll be planning a wedding and watching the BMXing to see who takes my title. But I’ll definitely be coming back for it,” she said.
“BMX is in my blood.”
She was one of three members of the Hāwera team who won national titles. Finn Lawrence won the 6-year-old boys and Steve Schimanski won the 40-44 year Male Cruiser class.
Hawera BMX Club president Graeme Schimanski said the club were immensely proud of the whole team’s performance.
“It’s the first time we’ve had three national champions and five others finish on the podium since I’ve been with the club, which was in 1983,” he said.
“The trainings we have are all now starting to pay off.”