Jacqueline Taheny is queen of the track at the Satellite City BMX track outside Darwin. (ABC Radio Darwin: Mark Rigby)
When Jaqueline Taheny first took her son to the BMX track, she never thought it would be her who would one day be racing at a world championship event.
After competing at the national championships in Brisbane earlier this year, the 43-year-old Darwin mum was invited to the UCI BMX world titles in South Carolina.
It’s been eight years since she first turned the crank on her BMX adventure.
“My eldest son Axel started racing and I got bored of watching so I thought I’d have a go,” Ms Taheny said.
“A lot of people thought I was mad.”
She said there were five other women racing at her local BMX club when she started, and the amount of older women competing had dwindled in recent years.
Although their numbers were low, Ms Taheny said women still gave the men a run for their money on the track.
“Some of us girls get out there and actually do better than the boys,” she laughed.
‘Pretty cool mum’
Axel said he was jealous of his mum’s achievement, especially when it was through him that she got involved in the sport.
“I reckon I’ve got a pretty cool mum and I’m going to cheer for her and do the best I can to get her over the finish line in a good position,” he said.
Ms Taheny says she hopes to inspire more older women to get involved in competitive BMX. (ABC Radio Darwin: Mark Rigby)
Ms Taheny said she felt proud that by representing Australia at the world championships she was able to promote BMX to women.
She said even though it was labelled an extreme sport, anyone could participate in BMX.
“If you want to go slow, go slow. If you’re more confident, you can go faster.
“I always say to the ladies that it’s addictive and fun and you can go at your own pace.”
Up for the challenge
Ms Taheny will compete against riders from 30 countries at next month’s world championships.
And although she ranks highly in Australia, she was under no illusion that her tilt towards glory would be easy.
She said while the high level of the competition excited her, it was the world championship crowds she was most looking forward to.
“I really think the atmosphere over there is going to be awesome.
“The noise of the cheer squads is going to be a great thing and hopefully we’ll get in the finals.”