Former national No.1 can still match it with the best

Patrick O'Callaghan has made a successful comeback to BMX racing. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

Patrick O'Callaghan has made a successful comeback to BMX racing. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

TWENTY years after being his country's best, and 19 years since competing in a national title, Launceston's Patrick O'Callaghan can still match it at the top.

At the national BMX titles at Shepparton, O'Callaghan finished fourth in the 50+ 20-inch category and in the 24-inch class was eighth after looking good for a top-three finish.

It was the best performance among the 26 Tasmanians competing in Victoria.

"It feels great (to be the best performed Tasmanian), as it's not too often you actually get to make two finals," O'Callaghan said.

"If the body keeps going then we'll probably give it a go next year.

"I started BMX back in 1980 and stopped in 1996, had 14 years off and came back into it.

"After 16 years of flat out racing each weekend, I had achieved No.1 in Australia in 1994 and there wasn't much more I could do then."

He described the track as challenging, with the one at St Leonards 360 metres long in comparison with 420 metres at Shepparton, which also had bitumen corners.

The extra length of the track "makes you work harder as there are more jumps to counter".

O'Callaghan's efforts allowed him to qualify for the world titles in the Netherlands, however, he will be unable to attend.

Other notable Tasmanian performances included Maddison Courtney finishing seventh in 17+ women's, and Wynyard's Hayley Becker placed fifth in 30+ women, while Wynyard's Reece Ellis qualified for the semi-finals in both 20-inch and 24-inch classes along, with Hobart's Justin Duncombe in the 24-inch class.

Hobart's Graham Rogers again finished seventh in the 50 + category, as he had in 2013.

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