NEWCASTLE BMX rider Rachel Jones will take a nothing-to-lose attitude into her campaign today for the last position on the Australian team for the world titles.
Jones will debut in the elite open division of the Australian championships when they begin at Shepparton in Victoria today after two days of practice.
The 18-year-old needs a standout performance at nationals to have a chance of gaining the fourth and final place on the Australian team for the world titles in July in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
If she gets on the podium, Jones will likely head to Berlin in June for a World Cup event to satisfy world titles selection criteria and hope she gets the nod.
Despite facing a make-or-break test at Shepparton, Jones said she was not feeling under pressure.
‘‘I’ll need to do quite well but this is my first year in the elite women’s division and I’ve really got nothing to lose this week,’’ Jones said. ‘‘I’m just going to go all out, give it everything and, if I get a result, well then great. The experience I get will always be a win.’’
She is in her first year against the likes of world champion Caroline Buchanan, but the 2013 national junior champion has recorded second and fifth placings in national series rounds in Queensland and Western Australia.
‘‘I know my capabilities,’’ she said. ‘‘I may not have the experience of the other girls, but I now have the ability and I’ll be aiming to get on the podium.’’
Her results are reward for the sacrifices the Lake Macquarie BMX Club rider has made over the past two months since moving away from her family and friends to train full-time on the Gold Coast at the Australian Institute of Sport.
‘‘It’s a big move and it’s not easy, but I needed to do it to do what I want in the sport,’’ she said.
After this weekend, Jones is aiming to gain more international experience as she builds towards her ultimate goal, an Olympic Games berth.
ABILITY: Rachel Jones on the track during the junior world championships in Auckland last year. Picture: Getty Images