BMX: Country's No 1 aims to emulate Olympian

By Anendra Singh

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Amy Martin at the family business scrap metal yard in Whakatu which epitomises her 
fortitude before she jets off to the world champs in the Netherlands in July. Photo/Duncan Brown
Amy Martin at the family business scrap metal yard in Whakatu which epitomises her fortitude before she jets off to the world champs in the Netherlands in July. Photo/Duncan Brown

If Amy Martin was ever seeking endorsement on whether she's on the right track then she isn't going to lose sleep over it now.

The 14-year-old BMX rider from Hawke's Bay got that soon after she hopped off the podium following the Tauranga nationals at the Easter weekend.

The Iona College pupil is the country's best 15-year-old female rider.

"Sarah Walker won it [silverware] in 2003," says Martin, masterfully keeping a poker face but her eyes failing to conceal the excitement.

Whakatane-born and Kawerau-bred Walker, 25, won silver in the Women's BMX at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

"I got a trophy and cup so I was buzzing soon after reading her name," says the fourth-former who hopes to emulate New Zealand's first BMX Olympian in representing her country in the world's elite arena.

Further reinforcement followed when YESS BMX factory team included her in their professional cocoon of six riders of varying ages in New Zealand and also gifted her a state-of-the-art machine in recognition of her potential for long-term sponsorship obligations.

To top it off, the teenager from Whakatu will be jetting off to Rotterdam, in The Netherlands, in July to compete at the world championship because the top-eight placegetters from all the grades at the nationals qualify automatically.

What makes her feat remarkable is that she only picked up the sport about 18 months ago.

Says grinning mother Jodie: "We [husband Neil] just didn't expect it to happen this fast."

However, the track to the worlds has its share of undulating stretches.

With barely two months to raise $5000, the youngster has no tracks in the Bay to practise.

"We've got the funds to build one but it doesn't start happening until October," says Jodie of the 60-member Hawke's Bay BMX Club's drive to establish a full-sized track at Romane's Drive, near Guthrie Park, in Havelock North with the help of the Hastings District Council.

"It's going to be a hard road with no [full size] tracks," she says, adding the family will drive her to Te Awamutu and Rotorua on certain weekends to keep polishing her skills.

Finding another $15,000 for her parents and brother Michael, 16, adds to the tab but Jodie reckons "it's all worth it".

The Martins run a scrap metal business and that's the sort of mental fortitude they are adopting to ensure their child realises her potential.

Last October, the former Te Mata School pupil was competing in the Transtasman test with seniors at Te Awamutu when she injured her knee two days before the event.

Says Jodie: "She just carried on racing with a busted knee because she didn't want to let her teammates down."

The Kiwis won that test and Martin her age grade although she finished third behind the Aussies in the North Island Championship segment.

The gritty teen thanks her parents, David Fox, of YESS BMX, the Jarrod Cunningham Trust, Willy White Trucks, Auckland elite rider/coach Michael Bias, Iona College, the Bay club, Revolution Bikes Havelock North and Andy "Pud" Scott, of Cape Physio, for their support.

Adept at hockey from year 4, Martin went off the boil with turfdom as it got "too competitive" and training heavy.

Having saved about $500 through Christmases and birthdays, she went to AvantiPlus in Hastings to place an order on a BMX bike without telling anyone.

The parents only found out when she approached them for $100 to complete payment.

A few rides later, a Bay club member suggested she go to the other tracks in the country.

She did.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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