Young BikeNZ BMX group take up Supercross challenge

New Zealand’s burgeoning BMX talent will contest the final round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Canada at the weekend.

With both overall World Cup titles out of the reach of New Zealand riders, head coach Ken Cools is taking the opportunity to blood a number of young riders for the season finale at Abbotsford in British Colombia.

The five riders form the key part of BikeNZ’s BMX high performance development programme, looking ahead to next year’s World Championships in Auckland.

"These riders have all come through our development process and four of them have had a taste of Supercross racing," Cools said. "This is the ideal opportunity for them. They have been training hard over recent months and this is their chance to qualify through to the main draw and see how deep they can go in the elimination rounds."

The group comprises Matt Cameron (New Plymouth), Trent Jones (Kaiapoi), Kurt James (Cambridge), Daniel Franks (Christchurch) and Nic Fox (Gisborne).

"These are our best young talent that have an opportunity to press their claims for the future and potentially through to the Rio Olympics in 2016 and beyond."

Olympians Marc Willers, Kurt Pickard and silver medallist Sarah Walker are all taking a break following London. Willers is building up again for racing in the USA National series, Walker is taking a spell while Pickard is recovering from injuries received in London.

It is the first World Cup elite competition for Jones, the North Canterbury teenager who was fifth in the junior elite class at the world championships this year.

American Connor Fields is the Supercross points leader in the men’s competition after two wins this year and faces world champion Sam Willoughby (AUS) and compatriot Dave Herman in the race for overall series honours.

The women’s overall honours will be a battle between leader and world time trial champion Caroline Buchanan (AUS) and world champion Magalie Pottier (FRA) with Great Britain’s Shanaze Reade making a rare appearance.

The riders have their first practice today with time trials and qualifying tomorrow and elimination racing on Sunday (NZ time).