Erin Rook.
Erin Rook. Allan Reinikka

Rider targets Australian title

TWO-TIME Queensland champion Erin Rook loves everything to do with bikes, not just BMX.

After shaking off her pre-race nerves, the 15-year-old, who spends her time during the school holidays working at City Centre Cycles, won her second straight Queensland title in Bundaberg at the weekend, and now has her sights on Australia's premier junior riders.

Rook begins training next week for the 2012 Australian BMX championships in Mount Gambier, South Australia which are held early in the new year.

While a placing in the junior elite division at the nationals is her ultimate goal, the North Rockhampton High student has taken up a new sport, and loves every minute of it.

Her passion remains with BMX, but in recent months she has branched out and tried her hand at track cycling, working with Rockhampton Cycling Club's Brett Ruff and wife Madonna.

"It's awesome. I love it," she said.

"Everything to do with bikes, I love."

Despite her new found interest, she has no thoughts of turning her back on the sport she loves.

"I'm not giving up BMX at all, I just want to try everything to do with bikes," she said.

After her fifth-placed finish at the nationals last year, stepping up from her age division, Rook is eager to test herself in the junior elite division.

"It's going to be a step up for me. I'm hoping to get into the final because junior elite is the best junior girls going around," she said.

"I want to step up to compete against the best girls in Australia."

Rook was among 25 riders from the Rockhampton BMX Club who were among more than 810 riders from all over Queensland aged from five to 50 years old, who participated during the three days of competition.

She was joined on the podium by fellow Rockhampton BMX Club riders Scott Thomasson, who won the 8-10 years boys cruiser race and finished second in the 10 boys race; and Samantha Thomasson who picked up a bronze medal in the 13-14 years girls cruiser race.

Despite winning last year's Queensland title, Rook said she had her doubts about her chances in 2011, especially at eventual second-place finisher Ashlee Parker's home track.

"The pressure was on me to win again," she said.

"I never got the feeling that I was going to win. Because it was her home track I thought Ashlee would win."

After winning the title - by more than four bike lengths - Rook said the weight was finally off her shoulders.

"It was (a feeling of) relief and knowing that all the training I did had paid off," she said.

"No pain, no gain - that's what I say."

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