BMX Gladiators battle at Centenary Plains

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Coming back to BMX today was like a Muslim getting a free return ticket to Mecca- I was ecstatic.

I arrived at Centenary Plains BMX Club for the final day of the South Queensland BMX Championships to be greeted by a bevy of cheering fans, blaring microphones, the clunk of the starting gates and the rugged commentary of Errol Domin…I was transfixed!!

I quickly re-discovered why I had fallen in love with this sport in the first place- furious on track action, racy colours, 5yo sprockets with oversize helmets trying to look like Kamakazi, slightly rotund officials in red t-shirts, and above all, Errol’s devastatingly beautiful legs minus the Warwick Capper shorts, but still sporting a slightly more demure look in what appeared to be “over-size tartan”.

Everything was pleasingly professional as I worked towards the Venue Office to collect my yellow safety vest and my impressive looking media pass in patriotic colours.

Kaylene Domin, the matriarch of BMX administration, was waiting for me, and almost threw herself at my feet, pleading for a kiss, but not wanting to appear too eager on my first visit to a BMX track in almost five months, I made a quick retreat to the safety of the BMX infield, nestled between the first and second straights.

Here, I was in MY “domin”….er..domain.

Riders were flying high to my right and high to my left, sometimes appearing alarmingly close through the long lens, bringing everything within a whisker of my whiskers.

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Occasionally there would be a thud as riders hit the deck, and most times the “wounded soldiers” would re-mount their “trusty steeds” and limp around the track to a cavalcade of claps and cheers. 
Photo: Quite a few little fellows hit the deck
Copyright Peter Ford (CSN)

There is something “Romanesque” about this tradition, and I couldn’t help imagining a Colosseum equivalent, with a few surviving gladiators, their bodies ripped to shreds by lions, staggering around the ampitheatre, waving to the applauding fans, decked out in togas and olive leaf head pieces.

Unfortunately, not all riders were able to escape injury today, and one young girl had to be hospitalized after crashing at the end of the first straight, just as the Finals began.

It was all a bit disconcerting actually, as the sight of a rider laying motionless on the track was enough to put a lump in my throat, and as paramedics ran to her aid, a sense of real concern spread around the racing precinct.

But BMX is a resilient sport, and as soon as the crash victim was removed from the track, the remaining Finals powered into action.

Officials raced back to their positions, spectators surged towards the edge of the track to get the best views, and the Gates area once again became a hive of activity, all within minutes.

 

cen24The final two races of the day determined who would be the pro men’s and women’s winners of the South Queensland BMX Championship for 2011.

It was Madison Janssen who showed the way in the women’s race, securing a power-house win over Chelsea King and Cherie Simpson, while Nick Deininger proved too strong for arch-rival, Nathan Graves, and Luke Hombsch in the Men’s Final.

Photo: Pro Men's champion, Nick Deininger
Copyright Peter Ford (CSN)

“I’m really excited about the win” Nick told CSN after the race.

“I was always wary of Nathan’s ability, and knew he could pull something out and I had to cover him. But once the gate dropped I had no worries and felt good”.

Nick showed outstanding form through the heats and semis, and may have surprised himself with his current form.

“I’ve just started a new block of training and it’s pretty intense and I’ve felt quite worn down the last few weeks. But I came in with not much pressure on, so it’s been a good, fun race to get back into things with.”

Nick praised the Centenary Plains BMX Club for the great job they had done on the track in preparation for the Championships, and felt the bitumen turns had helped the open up the races and them a lot faster.

“There are a lot more lines that riders can now take around these corners instead of just one fast one. It certainly makes the races a lot better.”

Nick will now continue with his training program before heading over Florida and San Diego to compete in two of the upcoming Supercross World Cups, while yours truly will drive back to the Gold Coast and continue writing questionable BMX reports (as usual!).

One of these days, some knowledgeable BMX reporter may drop out of the wood work and offer his or her services to CSN, but until that amazing time, "may the 'Ford' be with you".

Further images from today's racing (Copright Peter Ford, Cycle Sport News):

 

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Article nd images courtesy Peter Ford (CycleSportsNews.com)

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