New Zealand’s BMX stars take their first steps of an all-important 2020 season at the FIRST Windows & Doors BMXNZ Championship Nationals at North Harbour on Sunday.
At the end of the rainbow is qualification for the all-important world championships, and after that final cut-off, then nomination for the Tokyo Olympics.
The New Zealand men are ranked 23rd in the world and won’t be in the race for any Olympic spots but there are two places up for grabs for the world championships at the end of May in the USA.
New Zealand elite women are currently ranked seventh in the world, just 15 points behind Brazil and a chunky 373 behind fifth placed Russia. After the world championships teams ranked third to fifth earn two places for Tokyo and those ranked sixth to 11th receive one spot each.
All three riders should claim qualification to the world championships and are made up of junior world champion, Jessie Smith (Hamilton), defending champion Sarah Walker (Rotorua club) and 2018 national champion Rebecca Petch (Te Awamutu).
Five riders will contest the men’s elite competition where home track star Michael Bias is the top ranked rider at 34 in the world, coming off an excellent 2019 season where he made the third round at the world championships and the World Cup semifinal in Argentina.
There are two spots available for the world championships with Rico D’Anvers (Cambridge), Luey Cotton (Kapiti), Cole McOnie (Te Awamutu) and Cameron Jago (Mountain Raiders) expected to take it to Bias.
The junior men promise to be a closely fought battle in a strong field that includes five members of the Schick Civil Construction Performance Hub in Bennett Greenough and Tasman Wakelin (both Cambridge), Cooper Merito (Te Awamutu), Nic Daniels (North Canterbury) and Rico Bearman (North Harbour), with Holly Oldham (Alexandra) and Olivia Levens (Kapiti) in junior female.
There will also be considerable interest in new North Harbour facility at Hooten Reserve in Albany, complete with 8m world-class ramp and challenging circuit.
The First championship is merged with the North Harbour 1000 event, with some age group racing from 11am ahead of the elite championship racing from 11.30, with three motos on the half hour before the finals at around 1pm.
This event will be livestreamed on SKY Next https://youtu.be/0A6auHczOM4 and a highlights package will feature on the SKY subscriber channel later in the month.