Sacha has earned the honour of representing New Zealand at the highly prestigious Downhill World Cup and World Championships and will depart for Europe at the end of the month to start her long awaited journey.
“It’s going to be an exciting adventure,” says Sacha. “Although the racing will be a highlight, I’m excited to ride a whole bunch of different tracks with heaps of new people.”
“The World Cup circuit will take place in Italy, Switzerland and Austria, after which I will have a month’s break before heading to Fort William in Scotland for the World Championships.”
Sacha, and other Downhill Mountain Bikers, will begin their campaign in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, in early June, as part of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.
The perfect balance of school and sport
Sacha’s selection to represent New Zealand is a testament to her dedication and unwavering commitment to her sport. Balancing her academic pursuits with her mountain biking ambitions, she has exemplified ACG Parnell’s core values of perseverance, aspiration and excellence, and the school is fully supportive of her chasing her dreams.
“I am extremely happy that ACG Parnell will support me in travelling halfway across the globe to pursue my dreams whilst also helping me to continue my academic studies.”
“The school has been extremely productive with their support. My teachers and dean have helped me to set time to sit down and catch up with any work I may miss during the school days.”
Prepping for the world-stage
With take off just around the corner, Sacha, who is the current U19 National Champion, has been ramping up her preparations, which included competing in The Crankworx World Tour (Rotorua leg), a multi-stop series of mountain bike festivals bringing together the best mountain bike athletes to compete in elite-level competitions in a variety of disciplines.
Sacha placed first in all three disciplines in the U19 Female category and was also invited to compete in the Pro category for pump track racing which saw her come up against Olympic and World Champion BMXers, World Champion downhill racers and a large field of elite professional mountain bikers.
“Crankworx was a very beneficial event to compete in, as I got to race against opponents from all around the world and see where I fit in speed-wise compared to some of the elite and junior women who are already on the world circuit.”
“It was also a fantastic experience getting to race against some of the people I have been watching on the world stage for a while now, in the Pro category for the Pump track discipline. I was ecstatic when I found out I was invited!”
One such rider included fellow New Zealander and good friend, Jenna Hastings, who in 2022 was crowned Junior Mountain Biking World Champion.
“I’ve known Jenna for around 10 years,” Sacha explained. “We’ve been riding together ever since, and when she won the World Champs last year, I was so proud of her.”
“When she came back to New Zealand, we spent almost all this past summer riding together which has been really beneficial for me. I have learnt a lot from her knowledge and experience.”
ACG Parnell Sports Coordinator, Steph Trowill, expressed her pride in Sacha’s achievements. “We are immensely proud of Sacha and the journey she is about to embark on. She has been dominating her age-groups on the national stage for some time now, and as a school, we will rally behind her as she turns her attention to the international stage for the first time.”