Mountain biker wins silver at Worlds

Shania was placed second with a time of 4:31.318. Photo: Jay French

A Papamoa teenager, has won a silver medal at the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Championships in Cairns.

18-year old Shania Rawson, earned the title last weekend in the women's junior downhill division. Its races involved a seeding run on Friday and the final race on Sunday.

In the seeding run, Shania blitzed the field coming in first place with a time of 4:32.450.

Ash Rawson, Shania's father says this win was a huge defeat.

“She won the seedlings run by 6 seconds against the next competitor, which is miles ahead in downhill mountain biking.”

Shania has a strong BMX background with the Tauranga BMX club, having earned won various titles within BMX.

Her move to downhill mountain biking was made only three years ago and already she has earned two national titles.

“In the lead up to this world's event Shania went to Europe, where she got really good results winning a race in Andorra,” says Ash.

In the final race, Shania was placed second earning a silver medal for her time of 4:31.318.

The winner was 18-year old Melanie Chappaz from France, with a time of 4:28.617.

“Because of the win in the seeding run, she was really confident going in to the finals but half way down the course she developed a flat tyre on some rocks and by the bottom it was really flat,” says Ash.

“She only lost it by 2 seconds even with a flat tyre.”

He says the win was a bit disappointing.

“She was aiming for first,” says Ash.

“She's a little bit guttered but still really stoked with second place and her silver medal.”

He says Shania is now aiming to be a world pro.

“She wants to back to Europe and race a season over there, which will combine with the world champs.”

Shania says overall, she is happy with her results.

“I think I went good, I went over there feeling positive based on my previous races and I think I went pretty well gaining first in the seeding run and the track was running pretty well.”

“Obviously I did want those rainbow stripes, and I'm still disappointed about that because that was my main goal and I didn't achieve that, but I think it's slowly sinking in that I did get second.”

In the lead up to the event Shania says she trained about six times a week including gym, cross training and time on the BMX track.

“I tried to ride as much as possible.”

Shania is trained by her brother, Tauranga based athlete Kurt Rickard, who represented New Zealand in BMX at the Olympics.

“It was really good having someone close to me training me and pushing me to my hardest,” says Shania.

Next year, Shania moves into the women's junior elite division and in the near-future, she plans to continue racing in national events before returning overseas.

Her brother Kurt, will continue to coach her throughout this transition.

“Obviously I'm really nervous, those are the women I've been looking up to my whole life so actually being up to compete against them is kind of nerve-wracking but I'm excited.”

“I have three months racing all over New Zealand doing national rounds and then I'll be back overseas around June.”

She says she wants to thank her sponsors and the community for their endless support.


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