Lahee Park set to welcome NAG Series opener

Over 150 riders are gearing up for the opening rounds of the 2016 SA BMX National Age Group (NAG) Series, Legs 1, 2 and 3, which take place at the Lahee Park BMX Track in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal, from 2-3 April.

Host club, Lahee Park BMX Club, have a “very mellow” track that is not too technical. Club Chairman, Tim O’Brien, explained that the jumps are not that high and the start ramp is very low, which will encourage a very broad range of riding abilities.

“The track is built like the ABA tracks in the USA,” said O’Brien. “It will suit the stronger rider because they won’t be gathering as much speed on a lower start ramp as they would on an eight-metre high ramp, so they have to pedal hard to build up that speed. It also attracts the newcomers to the sport, whereas the sheer scale and technicality of a track like Giba Gorge, which is built to world standards for Elite racing, could very easily scare some potential starters away.”

All age groups are welcome to join in at the first National event of the 2016 season, and all riders must belong to a BMX Club. Official Gate Practice is on Friday 1 April from 14:00-16:00 and racing for Leg 1 start at 10:00 and Leg 2 at 13:00 on Saturday 2 April, with Leg 3 starting at 09:00 on Sunday 3 April.

O’Brien said that the race is a big event on the Club’s calendar and all members will be racing at their home track for the National event. “There will be over 150 riders here!”

Although attracting a National field that will largely have their focus on scoring points for the overall series, O’Brien says that the BMX Club places a large focus on beginners. “We’re all about developing the sport, so you will see lots of dads on Cruisers racing with their kids. We also host coaching clinics here.”

KwaZulu-Natal Cycling Development Officer, Tyrone Johns, said he was looking forward to taking his development riders to a venue close to home. “The whole Giba Gorge Development Team of 10 riders will be there and five from KZN Cycling Development Team, but they all train and race together. Manqoba Madida will be racing elite and is keen to kick off the National racing season.

“Lahee Park is one of the oldest BMX tracks in the country and it’s really rad,” he continued. “There is a large focus on the family vibe, with lots of parents and kids racing, which is very cool.”

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