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Kiwi BMX riders dominate mud on the Gold Coast
7 Jan, 2008 - Sharon Payne

The fourth round of the UCI BMX Oceania Ranking Round continued last night despite wet and muddy conditions on the Gold Coast. With precious national ranking points up for grabs Australia and New Zealand teams were keen to secure UCI points to improve their nation's ranking and gain places for riders to compete at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Officials allowed racing to proceed  at the Nerang BMX track after the surface was cleared of excess water.


As rain fell heavily during the finals, riders slowed to walking pace by the fourth and final straight. In the elite women’s race third in the world Supercross rankings, Sarah Walker from New Zealand, claimed overall victory for the best of three races.  Walker however made a decision to run her bike in the final metres of the third race allowing Australia’s Melissa Mankowksi (Moranbah, QLD/Campbelltown,  NSW) to pass. Mankowski finished second overall and Ziggy Callan (Lilydale, VIC) claimed third. Walker still leads the Oceania Series with Krystal Cranfield (Gladstone) in second place overall.


The men’s race was dominated by the strong Kiwi rider, Marc Willers (Cambridge). Willers rode from the front and was challenged by Australia’s Luke Madill (Penrith, NSW) until he crashed in the third straight.  Brian Kirkham (Adelaide, SA) continued his early season form to place second while Thomas Hubert (Maitland, NSW) gained third place. Willers further cements his hold on the Oceania Series with 43 points while Madill stays in second place on 35 points.


The unluckiest rider of the night was junior rider, Sam Willoughby (Happy Valley, SA) after his bike fell just a metre from the finish line in the final race. Gold Coast rider, Stevie Janssen dominated the field all night winning every moto plus the prestigious junior men’s final. Second was Victorian, Joshua Callan (Lilydale) with Willoughby in third place. Willoughy still holds the Oceaina series lead however.


In the junior women’s race, Lauren Reynolds (Bunbury, WA) was victorious over Caroline Buchanan (Canberra, ACT) with New Zealand’s Victoria Hill (New Plymouth) placed third. Reynolds remains the Oceania Series leader.

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