Home > News > Archive > 13th April 2007

McKee rides off with NZ Mighty 11s captaincy

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier
Patrick McKee
NEWLY appointed New Zealand Mighty 11s BMX team captain Patrick McKee with his trophies from the national championships at North Harbour Rac 103071AD

By Colin Thorsen

The New Zealand Mighty 11s BMX team for the trans-Tasman test against Australia will be captained by a Te Awamutu rider for the second successive year.

Eleven-year-old Patrick McKee is still on ‘cloud nine’ after not only making the national team but being selected to take over the captaincy reigns from club-mate Cody Hobbs.

The top 42 Mighty 11s riders throughout the country were put through four qualifying motos, a semi-final and final at North Harbour BMX Raceway to select the five-strong team to represent New Zealand in Australia in June.

McKee was in a class of his own, winning all six races, including the semi-final and final by a clear bike length - an incredible feat at any level let alone against the best in the country in his age group, with the added pressure of Mighty 11s team selection at stake.

McKee, Luke Roguski (Tauranga), Micah McGoldrick (Rangiora), Mitchell Wright (North Harbour) and Jacob Trow (New Plymouth) fly out for Australia on June 1 for 10 days, competing in the Pacific Oceania Championships, Mighty 11s Cultural Exchange and Mighty 11s test against Australia.

Young McKee will have a couple of familiar faces accompanying him on the trip to Lake Macquarie. The new Mighty 11s coach is Te Awamutu club stalwart Malcolm McOnie, with another long serving club member Phil Anderson (Pirongia) team manager.

“I don’t think it has all sunk in with Patrick,” says his proud mum Lee-anne, who also plans to make the trip to Australia. “He has never flown before or travelled abroad but at the moment he seems more concerned about his club-mate Ryan Lewis missing out.”

Lewis was on track to make the team, qualifying fifth for the semi-finals, only to have mechanical failure rule him out of contention.

Young McKee had huge family support at North Harbour, including his uncle Alan in Perth, who kept up with the play courtesy of Lee-anne texting him. First to congratulate McKee after being named as captain were his coach Ritchie Stratford (Te Awamutu) and father Phil.

Stratford has represented New Zealand himself, is the current NZ1 elite cruiser rider and NZ6 elite men. McKee thanked his coach for all the sound advice he had given him and the hours he had put in helping hone his skills at the track.

Phil McKee is no BMX slouch himself, holding down the NZ12 cruiser male plate.

The VeloSport sponsored New Zealand Mighty 11s captain said he was grateful to the Te Awamutu BMX Club for all their support. He made special mention of club-mates Cody Hobbs (NZ1), Ryan Lewis (NZ2) and Vishal Patel (NZ6) for continually pushing him to the limit in competition on Monday club nights.

The two other Te Awamutu Mighty 11s triallists, Jordan Gaye and Triton Nicholson, both acquitted themselves well, especially Gaye who made the semi-finals. Gaye has another year in this age group, enhancing his chances of team selection in 2008.