SCHOOLMATES since year 7, Bendigo mountain bike stars Chris Hamilton and Tasman Nankervis will be team-mates for Australia at next month’s junior world championships.
Hamilton and Nankervis will pit their endurance, strength and technical skills against a field of more than 100 on the Pietermaritzburg course in South Africa.
Half of Australia’s team to race the under-19 men’s cross-country duel at the worlds is from Bendigo.
“Selection for the world titles is something Tasman and I have been working hard to achieve,” said Hamilton.
“Reading the letter (about selection) was exciting.”
The year 12 students at Bendigo Senior Secondary College raced in World Cup rounds in Europe earlier in the year.
A great run by Hamilton in 2013 includes winning the Australian All Mountain Cup series and Switzerland’s 30km Graman Cup.
He powered on to finish in the top 20 and top 10 at the World Cup qualifiers in Germany and the Czech Republic.
“Those races in Europe were a great experience,” Hamilton said.
“The fields were the biggest I have raced against.”
The Strathdale teenager has put in many hours criss-crossing the various tracks dotted around Bendigo, as well as racing on the road and track.
“There’s been a lot more training this year,” he said of preparing for the three-round national series in which he was runner-up, as well as the Australian titles and World Cup battles.
“Technical skills will be really important at the worlds.”
Nankervis does not have to ride far from home in Strathfieldsaye to train on the hills. His campaign in Europe was derailed by a sprained wrist in Germany which meant he was on the sidelines for the World Cup round.
“Everything is fine now,” Nankervis said of recovery from the injury.
The cycling stars went from studying at the Flora Hill-based Bendigo South East College to now be in year 12 and the specialist sports program at Bendigo Senior Secondary College.
“The specialist sports program at BSSC has played a big part in being where we are now,” Nankervis said.
“We have been given a lot of support in our subjects and timetables,” he said of mixing training and study.
The 18-year-old cyclists started racing with the Bendigo Mountain Bike Club. Nankervis took up the sport when he was 10 after following brothers Russell and Rowan into “having a go” on the hills.
Hamilton’s first MTB race was more than six years ago.
The UCI titles will be contested from August 26 to September 1.
BSSC principal Dale Pearce said the cyclists will have plenty of support from the 2000-strong college community.
“We are incedibly proud of Chris and Troy representing BSSC, Bendigo and Australia,” Pearce said.