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Wet weather doesn’t dampen BMX spirits

Tuesday 14 November 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Cycling, Sports


Wet weather doesn’t dampen BMX spirits
Riders line up for the inaugural Cook Islands Pump Track Nationals on Saturday. 23111350

Rain didn’t deter dozens of burgeoning BMX enthusiasts who converged on The Rock Bike Park in Ngatangiia for the inaugural Cook Islands Pump Track Nationals.

The Saturday event, organised by BMX enthusiast Tony Takurua, who designed and built the country’s first and only Pump Track, featured three Kiwi riders.

Takurua said final asphalting was completed on Friday, with the 250-metre track designed for bicycles and skateboards, an all-weather facility for the island’s kids to use.  

“On offer during the week was training for kids by our New Zealand riders flown in for the event Codi, Cooper, Cannon, Britt and Emma, with many first-time riders attending the skills sessions during the week, having a ball, and experiencing some tips on ways to manoeuvre fast around the track safety.”

Saturday morning’s sunrise was a cloudy one, with much needed rain forecasted, the track was looking in great shape, he said.

“With newly finished asphalting done, the track was running smooth and fast.

“The weather wasn’t going to be a problem for the track, it was just going to be whether the riders could keep upright in the wet conditions.”

At 11am registration opened with a practice session soon underway, many excited kids lining up for tips on the fastest lines.

A few fast laps put down by the Kiwi riders during the practice session excited kids and parents alike, showing a glimpse of what can be done on the track.

With the rain not easing, it was decided by the organisers to push on through with a 12.30pm start time.

Riders were asked to complete a one lap circuit time trial in order to find the fastest person in each age class.

Riding at speed in wet conditions takes skill and control, with credit to the young Cook Islands riders, with only one rider taking a spill during the wet racing conditions, Takurua said.

“Awesome riding by our local kids was witnessed by parents, grandparents and spectators attending.”

With entries from boys and girls aged five and under, through to 26, Takurua said it was exciting to see the Cook Islands event on par with New Zealand and Australian BMX event age entries.

“BMX is an Olympic Sport raced by more than 50 countries around the globe, we can now proudly fly our Cook Islands flag amongst these, putting the Cook Islands on the map for BMX.”  

Fifteen inaugural Cook Islands BMX champions were crowned on Saturday, each receiving BMX trophies to keep.

Spot prize vouchers were kindly donated by Paul and Rebecca at Rarotonga Backpackers.

The organisers thanked Rarotonga Brewery’s donation of non-alcoholic ginger, pineapple, pawpaw and nu drinks range. 

Takurua also thanked all those individuals who helped out in making the event an enjoyable one for the kids: Cook Islands BMX organisers - Damian, Tony, Lisa. Kiwi riders - Codi, Cooper, Cannon, Brittany, Emma and event major sponsor - Edgewater Resort and Spa, and Cook Islands BMX Federation, and the Koka Lagoon Cruises for hosting the Kiwi riders.

“But most of all, thank you to the kids who attended and rode the first Cook Islands BMX Pump Track National Champs. 

“Our plans moving forward for the Rock Bike Park is to build a skate park at the rear of the Pump Track, a skate park that’s useable for all ages on skateboards, bicycles and scooters,” Takurua said.

“The big plan for the bike park is to construct a full-size BMX race track which can cater and host international BMX events, this will not only form a pathway for our Cooks kids to compete on the world stage, but allow the Cooks to host major BMX events on the international circuit, bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the islands tourism sector each year.”

2023 Cook Islands Pump Track Nationals champions – Four years Zelen Takurua, Six years Ah-Siu Tangata, Six years Terna Takurua, Seven years Carl Savenaea, Eight years Nikuru Ellison, Eight years Tangiirau Kirkwood, Nine years Kaatahleiya Aukino, 10 years Paula Pepe, 10 years Tiona Hunter, 11 years Dallas Aukino, 11 years Pipi Wyatt, 12 years Taylor Johnston, 13 years Tokoa Pepe, 14 years Vinzynt Aukino, 17 plus Codi Merito.