Rebecca Petch - High Flyer

Petch perched 15th in World

Article (by Colin Thorsen) and photo courtesy of the Te Awamutu Courier

Te Awamutu BMX’s golden girl Rebecca Petch is now firmly entrenched among the world’s best elite women riders. The 19-year-old returned home from the UCI BMX World Championships in the USA with a ranking of 15. It was a case of third time lucky to showcase her talent on the world championship stage. She had twice previously been selected to represent her country at junior elite level, yet had not contested a single moto after crashing out of the championships in Colombia last year during practice and the previous year’s worlds were curtailed due to bad weather in Belgium. Petch was one of six New Zealand senior elite riders to make it out of the qualifying motos into the elimination rounds finals at the stunning Rock Hill complex in South Carolina. Petch impressed placing second behind European champion Laura Smulders (Netherlands) in all three of her qualifying motos to comfortably progress to the quarter-finals. The New Zealand representative was drawn in the same quarter-final as Australian champion Caroline Buchanan who ended up with the silver medal. After making an outstanding start, Petch got held up in traffic and was in danger of missing out on the four riders to progress. She showed grit and determination to finish fourth behind Buchanan, Natalia Afremova (Russia) and Leanna Curtis (Australia) who placed 1, 2, 3 in that order. Petch’s run ended in the semis after getting squeezed going down the ramp and failing to jump the first. Try as she might, the Kiwi was unable to make up the lost ground. “I’m stoked to have made the semis and be the youngest rider in there,” she said. “Coming away with a world ranking of 15 from what was effectively my debut as an elite at world champs has me thirsting for more opportunities at world champs. “It is exciting to know that I am able to mix it with the top elite riders, especially considering I am just at the beginning of my elite career.”


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