New Zealand BMX rider Sarah Walker - Photo: Cycling New Zealand
Sarah Walker and Maynard Peel have claimed the elite honours at the New Zealand BMX Championships in Te Awamutu.
After qualifying second behind defending champion and local Te Awamutu club rider, Rebecca Petch, Olympic silver medalist Walker had to use all her experience to hold off her rival in a closely-fought final to reclaim the national title.
"It was such a good battle and I think the hardest national title ever. Massive kudos to Rebecca. It was great for New Zealand in terms of Olympic qualifications," Walker, who heads away on her honeymoon on Monday, said.
Petch, who had won two of her three qualifying motos, finished second with European-based Baylee Luttrell from the Hamilton club third overall.
Luttrell, who won all three of her motos, claimed the women's junior elite title ahead of Ella Hansen from North Canterbury, a member of the Schick Civil National Performance Hub. Hutt Valley's Caitlin Georgantas was fifth overall, but took the final place on the podium in the elite women.
Peel, the 2016 junior world champion, won the elite men's title after an impressive display.
The teenager from the Sunset Coast club enjoyed a perfect day, winning all three of his motos and dominated the final to hold off fellow New Zealand representative Cole McOnie, from the local Te Awamutu club.
"My racing felt smooth with some great competition between myself and Cole. Overall I am stoked and happy to be here and hope to inspire kids to get out and ride," Peel said.
Hamilton's Ryan Jordan, a member of the national performance hub, held off the experienced Daniel Franks for third.
The junior men's podium comprised riders who are all part of the national hub, with Cambridge rider Tasman Wakelin completing a perfect day with three qualifying wins and the final victory. He finished clear of Cailen Calkin (Hamilton) and Mason James (Te Awamutu).
The focus turns to the Oceania Championships at Te Awamutu tomorrow with the leading New Zealand riders up against the best from Australia.