Riders jump from the starting gates during the ACT BMX Championships at the Canberra BMX Club in Melba. Click for more photos

BMX bandits tear up Melba

Riders jump from the starting gates during the ACT BMX Championships at the Canberra BMX Club in Melba. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

  • Riders jump from the starting gates during the ACT BMX Championships at the Canberra BMX Club in Melba.
  • Riders wait to be called to the start line during the ACT BMX Championships at the Canberra BMX Club in Melba.
  • John Kates and Scott Redford get some air in their race during the ACT BMX Championships at the Canberra BMX Club in Melba.
  • Ruby McGavock and Tyarna Pavy get tangled up during the ACT BMX Championships at the Canberra BMX Club in Melba.
  • From left, Austin McNair gets out in front of Mitchell Pink and Thomas Degenhardt along the final straight in their race during the ACT BMX Championships at the Canberra BMX Club in Melba.
  • From left, Michael Trentham, Flynn Hedley and Cooper Starling come around the first berm in their race during the ACT BMX Championships at the Canberra BMX Club in Melba.
  • Gage Harland readies himself for the start of his race in the 15 boys during the ACT BMX Championships at the Canberra BMX Club in Melba.
  • Brody Archer riding in the 12 Boys during the ACT BMX Championships at the Canberra BMX Club in Melba.

She may not have won the Olympic gold medal she desperately wanted, but Caroline Buchanan has inspired a new generation of BMX bandits in the ACT.

The ACT BMX championships were held at Melba on Sunday and ACT BMX secretary Damion Drain said there were more than 350 entries, with riders coming from all around Australia and ranging from three years up to the over 50s.

He said the popularity of the sport in Canberra was exploding and put it down to the profile of Australia's queen of the track.

''I think [Buchanan has] played a big part [in the sport's popularity],'' Drain told The Canberra Times. ''Caroline's looked up to by all the riders, particularly the young riders, she's a massive inspiration to them.''

The event was meant to be held earlier in the year, but had to be rescheduled after torrential rain forced its cancellation.

While numbers were down on previous years, Drain said it was because of the event's rescheduling to the lead-up to Christmas.

But it still attracted professional riders such as Alex Cameron and Luke Madill, as well as plenty of sprockets (under-sevens).

On the comeback from a broken arm, Canberra's rising star Harriet Burbidge-Smith finished second in the AA women class, the top level, while Thomas Hubert and Leanna Curtis took out the AA titles in the men's and women's respectively.

There was music blaring throughout the two days, with practice starting at 8am on Saturday and the competition winding up at 2pm on Sunday. Drain said the action-packed nature of the sport was another reason for its popularity.

''One of the biggest attractions about the sport is the fast pace, you get to see results quickly and it's very attractive to young kids today,'' he said. ''In Canberra the sport just seems to be growing and growing.''

Buchanan is taking a break from the sport and has returned to mountain biking, where she is a former world champion.