Hard work pays off

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Going down . . . Dunedin BMX Club riders (from left) Cody Heger (7), Rhys Heger (10), Jacob Shaw (10), Ben Shaw (8), Charley Shaw (5), Jamal Millar (10), Wayne Gill, Emily Perry (6) and Vinnie Keach practise for the South Island championships at Forrester Park on Monday. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

Two years of hard work has paid off for Dunedin BMX Club as it prepares to host the South Island championships this weekend for the first time in nine years.

Dunedin BMX Club won hosting rights in 2017 and club president Brent Rutherford said members had “put in a lot of hard yards” since then to upgrade the track and attract more riders.

This included building a new 3m ramp, asphalting the berms, creating a pro straight and upgrading the finish line, which cost about $148,000 in materials to complete.

Labour was done by “kind” club members and volunteers.

Rutherford hoped the improved track would encourage more people to take up the sport.

“The more people use it, the better it is for cycling in Dunedin.

“If a kid can handle their bike on this [track], they can handle their bike on the street.”

Almost 300 people from around the country have signed up for the South Island event – 207 riders from nine South Island clubs, 82 riders from 19 North Island clubs and six from Australia.

Twenty-two riders will line up in the 8 boys class, which will be the largest of the event.

With 52 riders set to compete, the Dunedin club has the largest contingent, including Bella Wadsworth, who is believed to be the first female junior elite racer in the club’s 40-year history.

The men’s and women’s elite races will be the ones to watch, as will the 17-24 year old male and female races.