Maryborough youngsters riding on cloud nine
THE UCI BMX World Championship was more than just a competition.
It was a pulsating, ruthless ride designed to push competitors to the limit, all in an effort to uncover who has the skill, courage and stamina to make the transition from club champion to world beater.
Over the course of that five-day slog, the five young riders who represented Maryborough BMX Club experienced a rollercoaster ride of hope, despair, joy and relief.
More than 2000 riders from 30-odd countries competed in the event at Auckland's Vector Arena.
It's a daunting prospect coming into to your first world titles, but Maryborough's tenacious riders certainly made a decent fist of it.
Harrison Browning, Alyssa Cherrie and Teya Rufus all gained world plates, which is given to the top eight riders in each age division.
Jack Terry also displayed great pace the entire competition, but a crash in his second heat ultimately doomed his chances of a plate, bowing out in the quarter finals, while Rachael Buse tried hard but was unable to progress to the finals.
Such was their success in Auckland that Maryborough's newest world plate holders might spend the rest of their careers trying to top those achievements.
Harrison, 11, said he was unsure what to expect prior to competing, but was ecstatic to finish sixth overall in the 11 years boys' event.
"I was just stoked to get a plate," he said. "The competition was strong and a lot different than what I'm used to.
"There's no room for mistakes and you just have to go flat out.
"I'm very proud of myself and to think what you could achieve if you put your mind to it."
Harrison, who took up the sport at age four, said the tight course and short straight inside Vector Arena meant having an inside gate was vital.
"I thought there would be big jumps, but it ended it being small, but a lot tighter and technical," he said.
"It makes it scarier, and with the audience all around the track, it was something I've never experienced before."
Alyssa, a dual national plate holder, continued her rich vein of form and made it through to the nine years girls' final.
Unfortunately, the Tinana State School student had an unlucky crash on the second jump to finish eighth, but that wasn't able to wipe the smile off her face.
"I feel pretty good," she said.
"All my friends are a little jealous and want to get my autograph.
"It's given me a real boost and now I want to get better and go back."
How Maryborough BMX Club's riders fared at the UCI BMX World Championships.
Teya Rufus: 6th in 5-7 years girls
Harrison Browning: 6th in 11 years boys
Alyssa Cherrie: 8th in 9 years girls
Jack Terry: Quarter finals in 13 years boys
Rachael Buse: Didn't make it past the heats in the 16 years girls