It all started with the junior development camp in Pemberton in July 2013 targeted at Cross Country riders (XC). The camp was the first of its kind for WA and had super star coaches Jenny King, Tim Ellison and local Down Hill legends Rex Dubios and Dion Baker showing the kids how it's done. Every one of the 20 kids on the camp improved massively over the 3 days and they all came away buzzing.

At the time we didn't realise the monster we had created. From this point on we got hammered by the kids to take them riding more. A couple of months before the camp, we (Perth Mountain Bike Club) applied for the second round of funding through the MTBA club grant scheme and put this towards Junior Development, specifically taking an XC team to the 2014 National MTB Championships in Bright.

Nine of the juniors from the camp now started to focus on developing their XC skills a little more along with their fitness to compete at the nationals. The generosity of the coaches and dedication of the parents was fantastic. Guys like James Lobegeiger, Graeme Adams, Steve Jolly, Mark Wardle and Jason Tassell from Rock and Roll were all outstanding in helping the kids. All of this work was done on a voluntary basis.

The funding was used to purchase State Team Shirts and to help subsidise the families of each junior that went over to the nationals to compete. It also helped pay our state team manager and coach, Graeme Adams for his role with the team while in Bright.

It would be fair to say that 2 months on and everyone is still talking about our trip to Bright. It was the first time most of the kids have been to a national championships. While the competition was a great experience on its own, it was everything else that went with it that made it truly memorable. The course and riding terrain were awesome, the team bonding, the scenery, the river and swimming hole as well as the friendly no pressure atmosphere just to name a few.

But it was how our juniors performed that really stood out. Every single one of them performed above and beyond what any of us ever expected. Especially since our emphasis was simply on do your best and enjoy the ride. Even more interesting is what has happened to the juniors after the nationals. They have all come back to WA and have lifted their riding to another level based on the experience and confidence they gained while in Bright.

The other really cool thing was how much the parents enjoyed the whole experience as well. While the trip was about the kids, the parents also had the opportunity to get a ride or two in, take in the trails, the scenery, the river and the brewery. In fact the brewery was probably at the top of the list for some.

Special mention must go to Donna and Kevin Maggs though for organizing the team dinner on our last night.

The work that Rock and Roll MTB and PMBC are doing with the Juniors is fantastic. The opportunities and pathways they are providing gives the juniors the tools and experience required to make a state team and compete at a national level.

Our local junior MTB riders also have role models to look up to. National champions like Reece Tucknott who has just been selected to represent Australia at the 2014 World Championships. Sarah Tucknott who is the U17 National Champion, and riders like Sam Rubery and Jonty Calder who just won the Jorgenson Park 4 hour outright.

What's more is that all of these guys and girls are happy to help new juniors and pass on their experience. So if you are reading this and are new to mountain biking, feel free to go up to any of these guys and say hello and talk about mountain biking.............. because we love it!

A class by class and race by race run down of this is as follows:

Under 15 Boys XCO
  • Cadel Adams 11th
  • Rhys Wilson 12th
Under 17 Girls
  • Sarah Tucknott 1st in XCO
  • 1st in XCE
  • 1st in XCM juniors
Under 17 Boys
  • Bryce Lanigan 15th in XCO
  • 1st in XCM juniors short (1 lap)
  • Sean Maggs 23rd in XCO (after crashing and damaging his handle bars)
  • 7th in XCM junior half (2 laps)
Under 19 Boys
  • Reece Tucknott 1st in XCO
  • 3rd in XCE
  • Sam Rubery 11th in XCO
  • 1st in XCM junior half (2 laps)
  • Jonty Calder 15th in XCO
  • Callum Hunter 21st in XCO

Tony Tucknott
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