Te Awamutu’s Rebecca Petch has christened the new international BMX facility in Rotorua with victory in the UCI C1 Classic.
The new $1.6m world-class track, nestled beside the Waipa mountain bike park on the outskirts of the city, was officially opened on Saturday. It is the result of five years of planning and dedication by the Rotorua BMX Club with support from a number of organisations and businesses.
The club hosted the UCI event, which carries valuable ranking points towards the Tokyo Olympics, drawing riders from Australia, Japan and New Zealand, with the Central Region BMX Championships staged alongside.
Petch, the New Zealand representative, won all three of the elite women’s races ahead of Australia’s Caroline Buchanan and London Olympic medallist Sarah Walker who is a long-time member of the Rotorua club.
Buchanan, a former BMX world champion, was making her competitive return after nearly two years out of the sport following a serious car accident.
Japanese visitor Daichi Yamaguchi, the Asian continental champion, who is ranked 88th in the world, upset world number 11 ranked Kai Sakakibara (Australia) in the final.
Earlier New Zealand’s leading rider, Michael Bias (North Harbour) had finished top of the rankings with Sakakibara, both with two wins and a second placing from the three qualifying motos, with Yoshimura third.
However the 26 year old Japanese rider got the jump from the gate of the new 8m ramp to win the grand final ahead of Sakakibara, the Oceania champion, with fellow Australian Joshua Boynton third.
Cambridge rider Rico D’Anvers, a member of the Schick Civil BMX Performance Hub, took out the final of the junior men’s category.
He was equal second in qualifying after two wins and a third placing but impressed in the final to edge out Japan’s Yuichi Masuda and Australia’s Oliver Moran, the top qualifier.
Men Elite, Motos: Michael Bias (North Harbour) 1, 2, 1, 4 points, equal 1; Kai Sakakibara (AUS) 1, 2, 1, 4 points, equal 1; Jukia Yoshimura (JPN) 3, 1, 2; 6 points, 3; Hayden Fletcher (AUS) 2, 1, 4, 7 points, 4; Daichi Yamaguchi (JPN) 2, 3, 3, 8 points, 5. Final: Yoshimura 1, Sakakibara 2, Joshua Boynton (AUS) 3.
Junior Elite: Oliver Moran (AUS) 1, 2, 1, 4 points, 1; Corey Taylor (AUS) 2, 1, 2, 5 points, equal 2; Rico D’Anvers (Cambridge) 3, 1, 1, 5 points, equal 2; Tasman Wakelin (Cambridge) 1, 3, 3, 7 points, 4; Yuichi Masuda (JPN) 2, 4, 2, 8 points, 5. Final: D’Anvers 1, Masuda 2, Moran 3.
Elite Female: Rebecca Petch (Te Awamutu) 1, 1, 1, 3 points, 1; Caroline Buchanan (AUS) 2, 2, 2, 6 points, 2; Sarah Walker (Rotorua) 3, 3, 3, 9 points, 3; Baylee Luttrell (Hamilton) 4, 4, 4, 12 points, 4.