Holly Oldham – BMX World Champs, Rock Hill, USA

Holly Oldham returned from competing in the 2017 BMX World Championships in Rock Hill, South Carolina (USA) last week with a top 20 placing, greater self-belief and an elevated desire to further test herself against international competition.

Words Adrian Morgan | Images Clare Toia-Bailey


Holly qualified for the BMX World Champs following a strong performance at the 2017 NZ National BMX Championships held in Te Awamutu in April. To qualify riders needed to obtain a top 8 finish at the Nationals. A top eight placing qualifies riders to attend the World Champs for the next two years. At 2017 NZ National’s Holly was placed 1st in New Zealand in the girls 14 years age group.

With a relatively short time period between qualifying (April) and the World Champs (July), Holly faced the challenge of quickly raising funds so she could attend the event. She met this challenge with strong support from her parents (Carole Gillons and Nigel Oldham) and the Alexandra BMX Club who helped with running a quiz night, making and selling cheese rolls and running a scratchie raffle.

Holly is also grateful for the support of several sponsors including LKI / DK Bicycles BMX Team, Alexandra Rotary, Trustpower and Benchmark Construction who made her participation in the championships possible.

Holly also appreciates the support her coach Nathan Adair provided to help get her prepared for racing.

When the BMX World Championships in Rock Hill, USA finished on the 29th July. The event had attracted 3,750 athletes representing 48 countries including a large Kiwi contingent of over 80 riders.

Conditions in Rock Hill were a marked contrast from Alexandra in July with temperatures climbing to over 35deg by late afternoon on race days.

Holly competed in the 14 years Challenger (age group) class against 81 other competitors. The other competitors included five other Kiwis and riders from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Equador, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Mexico and USA.

Holly came second in each of her qualifying motos (races), then placed 3rd in the 1/8s which put her through to the quarterfinals. Holly was the only one of the five NZ riders in the Girls 14 years class to make it through to the quarter final stage.

Holly placed 5th in her quarterfinal. A 4th placing would have put her through to the semi’s and a chance at making the finals. Despite missing out on a place in the semi’s, Holly gained a lot of confidence from the competition, as she says …

“I’m was stoked to get as far as I did. I really didn’t think I’d make it that far. But also really annoyed not to get a qualifying spot!”

Out of the competition, Holly says she has got a list of the improvement areas and skills she needs to work on over the next year to get to the next level. She’s determined to be part of the action at the next BMX World Championships to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2018.

But before that happens she has an intense program of training, BMX events and plenty of fundraising before she gets another shot at World Champs in 2018.


If you would like to sponsor Holly so she can continue being awesome over the next BMX season please get in touch.

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