Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Mountain biker needs help to get to world champs

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WORLD CLASS: Papamoa mountain biker Shania Rawson in action at Crankworx in Rotorua earlier this year. PHOTO/Clint Trahan 130816sp20BOP
WORLD CLASS: Papamoa mountain biker Shania Rawson in action at Crankworx in Rotorua earlier this year. PHOTO/Clint Trahan 130816sp20BOP

Papamoa's Shania Rawson, 17, will compete for New Zealand at the UCI Mountain Bike World Champs in Italy beginning on September 6.

"I had to train hard and get enough UCI points (Union Cycliste Internationale) to be able to get selected from racing national events," the former Tauranga Girls' College student said.

"Probably the main one for me was Crankworx in Rotorua (March).

"I raced two races - the downhill and won the under-19 category for that, and Air DH where I got second in the elite pro women's race.

"It was better than I had expected."

But like so many Western Bay athletes who are selected to compete for New Zealand other than in Olympic sports, there is no funding available for Rawson to get to Italy.

So she has to do it the hard way by fundraising every dollar to get there.

To achieve her goal she has set up a Give A Little page which she hopes will help her reach her target in under two weeks before she leaves for the world champs.

"I need about $2,000 more. I did get fundraising help from Descend Rotorua club.

"They did a mountain bike race in the forest to raise funds for me and Cole Lucas (Hamilton) so we got three grand each from that which was great."

Rawson is a relative newcomer to downhill mountain biking after a long and distinguished junior career as a BMX rider.

"I raced BMX since I was four and did that for 11 years. I won eight national titles and was ranked sixth in the world," she said.

"I just went out one day mountain biking with a few mates and just loved it. I had done BMX for such a long time and thought that would be a good change.

"Downhill is a lot scarier and there is heaps of skill with it. BMX you are racing alongside people but with downhill it is more of an individual type of sport."

Growing up, the biggest influence on Shania was her brother Kurt Pickard, who represented New Zealand at the 2012 London Olympics in BMX.

"He has been great. I always pretty much looked up to him since I was little which has made me want to aim high and keep that goal.

"He has helped me with my training and it has been great."

The Val di Sole track in Italy where she will compete is called Black Snake. It is regarded as the most technical in the world with plenty of tree roots, banked sections, jumps and other natural obstacles.

Rawson is aiming high ahead of the world champs.

"I am confident that I can be in world number one place - that would be pretty good.

"That is pretty much my goal."

But first she has to raise the money to get to Italy.

To help Shania's fund her trip head to her Givealittle page.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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