Cold and windy conditions on the day did not deter the BMX youngsters as they pushed their limits for the all-important race on the national calendar at the 2013 SA National BMX Championships, which took place at the Alrode BMX Track in Alberton, Gauteng on Sunday 22 September.
BMX racing caters for a host of age categories, from as young as the 6-and-under class to the Masters’ 45-and-over cruiser classes.
The weekend presented new championship titles, as Saturday’s racing also witnessed the culmination of the 2013 Grand National Series with the fifth and final round of the series taking place, while Sunday was reserved for the once-off SA National Championship event.
The 6-and-under Boys class on Sunday introduced the youngest newcomers to the BMX fraternity, and it was young Braden Schutte (Germiston BMX Club) who claimed top honours. The 7 Boys category produced a new winner this year as Karabo Malemela (Germiston BMX Club) raced to victory in all the mains, bettering his 2012 result of 3rd place.
This year’s competitive 8 Boys class showed a reversal in positions as Kaiden Keyser (Alrode BMX Club), who finished second to Liam Terblanche (Kempton Park BMX Club) in 2012, made a clean sweep of his heats to claim the national title, with Terblanche finishing second. Luca Bollea (Germiston BMX Club), competing in the 9 Boys category, retained his National Number 1 when he won all his mains and the final on Sunday.
The 11 Boys group saw Connor Terblanche (Kempton Park BMX Club) win all his heats to claim the National title. Terblanche won the 2012 National Champs in the 10 Boys category as well. Kai Brett (Kempton Park BMX Club) finished second, while Ethan Goveia (Giba Cycling Club), who finished 4th in the last year’s 9 Boys class, finished in 3rd place.
In some of the age groups, the competition was tough and right down to the line, like the 12 Boys category. Jarod Ellse won after finishing 1st, 2nd and 2nd in his mains, leading to the final run.
In the Girls’ categories, Kaylin Smith and Lauren Coetzee, both of the Kempton Park BMX Club, claimed top honours in the 9-12 Girls and 13-15 Girls classes respectively. Smith and Coetzee made a clean sweep of all their mains heats.
“These young categories are the future of our sport,” said Cycling South Africa’s BMX Commission Director Margot Gerber. “There is a lot of up-and-coming talent in South African BMX racing that we can already see at this early stage. We encourage more girls to participate in the BMX races so that we can grow the Girls’ classes at future events.
“The new world-class Supercross BMX track that has been built at Giba Gorge (KwaZulu-Natal) will provide great opportunities for this wave of youngsters that our previous riders never had. It will expose them to, and prepare them for the technical elements that they will be faced with at World Cups in the future.”
Photos credit: Alex Dolman (top) and Kaylin Smith. Jackie Bossert O'Shea