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Sports, arts and activities

Experience proves key for this National Schools Mountain Bike Champion

Crowned New Zealand Schools Mountain Bike (MTB) Overall Champion in the Under 14 Female category earlier this month, ACG Parnell College student, Sacha Earnest, impressed participants and spectators alike as she conquered the demanding competition.

Comprising of three adrenaline-boosting events, Sacha began her race for the title by placing second in the Enduro race. She then won the Downhill (her favoured event) and completed the competition with a fourth in Cross Country (XC).

Experience was key for the former world BMX age group medallist, who has been racing BMX since she was four years old, and mountain bikes since 2017. Her success in winning the fiercely contested Downhill title was particularly remarkable as she raced for most of the course with a flat tyre.

Sacha’s admits her biggest challenge was the Cross Country event, so she was thrilled with her fourth place finish.

“I knew that getting the overall MTB title would depend on how I did in my weakest bike code” Sacha explained. “After the first of four laps, I was in seventh place. Then I fought my way up to finish fourth which earned my U14 overall MTB title.”

The next sporting goal for this talented athlete will be the 2020 MTB New Zealand Downhill National Series. This four-race series will be held in both the North and South Islands over January and February. She will also be competing at the 2020 Mountain Bike New Zealand Downhill National Championships in Dunedin at the end of January.

While Sacha concentrates on her upcoming Downhill competitions, when asked what she enjoys most about MTB, she was quick to highlight the camaraderie and social aspects of the sport. “I enjoy riding with friends and meeting new people” she confirms. “Also going to new places and exploring on my bike.”