George's BMX glory
PLENTY of George Cole's classmates at Grafton Public School will have tales from their family road trip over the Easter break, but you can bet none would be listing Mount Gambier as their destination.
Cole and father Tom drove more than 3800km to South Australia over the past fortnight, to enable the 12-year-old to compete in the BMX nationals representing New South Wales.
And the Junction Hill rider made the most of his opportunity, returning home to Grafton ranked number six in Australia.
"We competed over four days and I managed to make the final in the Cruiser class," Cole said.
"Mount Gambier was an awesome track, probably one of the best I've competed at, and the racing was pretty fierce."
Cole, who made the final on his 24-inch Cruiser, also finished 16th overall in the 20-inch BMX class for the NSW Dynamites.
"I got knocked down in the quarter-finals in that event," he said.
"We came over the first jump and a rider to my inside went off course and skittled three riders to his outside."
With some skin left on the track, Cole bounced back to make the final of the cruiser class a couple of days later and proudly claim his No.6 Australian racing plate, which he is entitled to display in races until next year's nationals.
Tom Cole is the New South Wales team coach, and a former Australian title holder, and the whole family is behind George's BMX pursuits.
And with a fuel bill of more than $800 for just that one event, they are glad the Clarence Valley Council is behind him too.
Council chipped in $250 for the cost of the trip, and while the family spends close to $10,000 a year on their sport, the Coles are thankful for every bit of help they are given.
"I can't thank council enough for the support they have given us," Tom Cole said.
"They helped us travel to New Zealand last year with a grant of $500 and it is really appreciated."
George's sponsorships from Rush Industries and Toys R Us are also crucial, the family says. George's two bikes are worth more than $2000 each.
His next competition is on Mother's Day weekend at Taree, where he will aim to collect more points in the under-12 Dynamites series.