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Tough track fails to intimidate girls

GIRL RACER: Emily Nicholson, 11, waits for the start of her race yesterday. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 030416pbbmx22THE girls have been rocking it at the 2016 National BMX Championships being staged in Bathurst this week.
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They might be outnumbered by the guys, but they are fierce.

Bathurst councillor Greg Westman, who is also a Bathurst BMX Club member, said while there were four or five young girls in the Bathurst club, BMX was definitely a sport dominated by boys.

He said every year a number of girls come and ride, but over time they inevitably drop out.

Cr Westman said he doesn’t know if this is because they don’t like it, they become involved in other pursuits, or outside forces pull them away.

“BMX is a full family sport, so we’d really love to see a lot more girls come along,” he said.

Cr Westman’s daughter, 12-year-old Chelsea, is competing in the national championships.

She agreed there were not many girls around at a normal Bathurst meet.

“Girls can do it every bit as well as the boys. Maybe they just don’t want to get dirty,” Chelsea said. “I don’t mind. But I’m a bit of a tomboy.”

Chelsea said she loved BMX riding for the fun of it and was enjoying being part of the national championships. “I’m really happy it’s at my home ground,” she said.

Emily Nicholson, 11, travelled from the Gold Coast with her dad, Ken, for the championships. She has been riding BMX for the past three years and loves the challenges the new track presents.

“It’s a bit wild, but I like it,” she said.

She said the switchback was the hardest part.

Emily said there were not many girls in her club either, but she has made some good friends on the circuit.

“We look out for each other,” she said.

Emily said she became involved with BMX because her dad got her into it.

Another competitor, Ken Nicholson, took a nasty tumble on one of the jumps. He has raced since he was a kid.

This was his first time on the track and he described it as a “bit extreme”, adding the jumps were a “bit diabolical”.

“You have to be a bit more cautious or they will throw you off,” he said.

“There have been a lot of injuries because people were caught off guard.”

Mr Nicholson was anxious watching Emily ride on the monster track.

“She’s pretty fearless, but it makes me nervous to see her heading towards a jump that I’m a bit scared of myself,” he said.

“She’s had a couple of bad falls in the past, but it hasn’t stopped her. She always goes back.

“When I raced 20 years ago there were not as many girls as there are now. These days it is just as much a sport for girls as boys.

“I think it appeals to those kids who don’t enjoy mainstream sports. They win by their own efforts and they lose by their own efforts.”

Another fearless competitor at the titles is 10-year-old Jennifer Mackie, who is the number one rider in her age group in Australia.

Jennifer is a member of the Liverpool Club, where she is one of about three female members.

“I’m not scared of this track, although it could be scary for other people,” Jennifer said.

“I’m trying my best to defend my title.”

At the other end of the spectrum is 52-year-old Annie Randell, who has been riding since 2010. She has become something of a BMX icon.

Ms Randell started out working behind the scenes while her children were competing then decided to have a go herself because it looked like so much fun.

“I love this track. It’s more age appropriate than most, more rolling, more manageable for us oldies,” she said.

Ms Randell said there were definitely not enough women in the 50-plus age group.

“I might not be as competitive as some of the younger riders, but I always give it 110 per cent,” she said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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