Mountain biker riding high
RISING mountain bike star Hayley Oakes, is a dynamic athlete keen to go as far as her legs and two wheels will take her.
Recently the talented 12-year-old won the Under-15 girls division of the 2017 Wild West Series Round 4 at Ipswich, tearing around the course despite being up against older riders.
She is continuing to make the judges sit up after she raced in round 2 of the Summer Sprints Series at Underwood in Queensland last month, where she came second in the C-grade women's category, despite being one of the youngest.
Now Hayley has her sights on the 2017 MTBA National Championships in March at Canungra in Queensland.
So it's no surprise the youngster nominates cycling great Anna Meares as one of her inspirations.
A keen member of the The Northern Rivers Dirty Wheels Mountain Bike Club, Hayley is hoping for a good result at the championships, after finishing 2016 with a win in the Under-13 female Sunshine Series and came first in the Queensland state titles in her age category.
The year-8 Summerland Christian College student has been ripping up the trails ever since she first jumped on two wheels.
"I just like the feeling of how you ride on the trails, I got bored on the road and prefer it in the bush,” she said.
"My dad was a road cyclist who has now changed to mountain bikes to keep up with me.”
Hayley said her favourite rides involve courses with challenging ascents and descents.
"I like going fast, downhill at 40km and I like Stairway to Heaven at Little Italy,” she said.
"It's very steep so I'm in a fairly high gear.”
Hayley said she appreciates all the efforts of those who help with her training and offer advice on improving her performance.
"The people at The Bicycle Emporium in Ballina and the Northern Rivers Dirty Wheels Mountain Bike Club have been marvellous,” she said.
"Their ongoing support has helped with the development of my riding.”
Hayley said it's a shame not more women race, because it's a lot of fun.
"lt would be good to see more women in mountain bike racing,” she said.
Anyone interested in the sport should visit the club website at www.dirtywheels.org.