Superstar back for SA National BMX Championship

2012-04-18 00:00

BMX fans have welcomed the news that South African superstar Sifiso Nhlapo has confirmed that he will jet back for the SA National BMX Championships, which form part of Pietermartizburg’s exciting new CSA KZN All Africa Challenge.

The 2010 world championship runner-up is desperately trying to regain full fitness and find the form with a strong performance at Alexandra Park in two weeks.

“We’re very excited to have Sifiso back for the nationals,” said Cycling South Africa’s national director, BMX, Margot Gerber.

“The likes of Kyle Dodd and Dean Holdstock, who have also been going well recently, will also be there so we’re really holding thumbs for a great event.”

“We’ve moved away from our previous system of three events each with two legs, which you are able to earn points from, to a once-off championship event that falls into line with what the UCI is trying to get everyone to do,” said Eugene Eggar, Cycling South Africa’s national BMX track coordinator.

The CSA KZN All Africa Challenge will be hugely beneficial to all three cycling disciplines, but it is the BMX community who are particularly hopeful of what the event might do for their sport.

“The track is undergoing a huge rehabilitation at the moment and our aim is that once we’ve had the nationals there then the Maritzburg BMX club will take over the management of the track,” said KZN BMX commissioner Jason Nichol.

“This will be a big step forward for BMX in the region because even though Pietermaritzburg has become the cycling capital of South Africa, BMX numbers in the region are still quite low.

“Hopefully the new track at Alexandra Park, which is a more central and visible to the community, will really help grow the sport especially amongst the local community members,” he added.

With the UCI BMX Supercross having been staged there last year, certain changes have become necessary before next weekend’s event, but Eggar is happy with the progress made.

He said: “Things have been going really well and it’s going to be absolutely awesome.

“From the babies right through to the elite it really will be a great weekend for BMX in South Africa.

“The Supercross guys are the top of the top in the world so we’ve had to step things down a bit for our nationals.

“We’ve taken out the berm jump and made one or two other small changes, but we’ve put in a six-metre start hill, which is the biggest size allowed at this level, so this track definitely isn’t one which just anyone would manage.”

Although participants are unable to qualify for this year’s Olympics through the nationals, the event is still a UCI category six event and there is still plenty to race for.

“This is not just a Grand National Series event, this is the SA National Champs, so the rider who crosses the line first on Sunday will be crowned SA Champ for 2012 and will be given the number one board for the next year; and some of the guys will really want to do well ahead of the World Champs in Birmingham in September this year,” said Nichol.

The SA National BMX Championships form part of the CSA KZN All Africa Challenge and take place at Alexandra Park from April 27 to 29. More info can be found at www.cyclingsa.com.

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