After fighting hard for a spot in the 15-year-old boys' division final at the BMX World Championships, Rotorua's Zach Paterson was unlucky to be caught up in a crash at the start of the race.

He finished eighth overall at the event held in South Carolina last month and, while he was left to wonder what could've been, he was proud of his efforts.

"It was a lot of fun and really hard racing. It was as hard as I expected it to be - I think I prepared myself well for what was coming," Zach said.

He won his first two qualifying races and finished third in the third race which saw him go through to the next stage.

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"I missed the gate and I was in last position, but I managed to scrape through for fourth in a photo finish. I was nervous not knowing if I went through but I warmed down and stretched in case I did make it through.

"I made it through and one of the guys in the pits told me 'that's the bad race done, now you have to get into game mode and really go hard'."

He did just that, making the top four in the quarter and semifinals to book himself a spot against the top seven other 15-year-olds in the final.

He said making the final was "the best feeling".

"[In the final] I got out of the gate really good, I was in third coming down the ramp. I got hit from the right side, which threw me off balance. I managed to bump him off but then a big Aussie came straight through and blew me straight off because I was off balance.

"I crashed on the first jump and injured my wrist and elbow. I managed to get up and roll the rest of the race - I finished eighth.

"There were 146 riders in my age group overall. It was disappointing to crash but to finish eighth was an awesome achievement. It wasn't easy to get there, I had no easy races and had to work to get through to where I was.

"At the time I was really gutted but looking back at it now I'm very happy."