FREIA Challis is looking forward to proudly sporting the W1 plate on the front of her bike for the next 12 months after the young BMX ace from Halstead became a World Champion.

Challis, who rides for the Braintree Bullets BMX Club, proved untouchable in the 11-year-old girls' category at the UCI BMX World Championships at Zolder in Belgium, winning all of her heats, her quarter-final and semi-final on her way to the final, where another victory confirmed her as the world's best in her age group.

It was a victory that helped put the heartbreak suffered in two previous World Championships behind her as she had crashed out in the final at Zolder four years ago and suffered a tumble in the quarter-finals at Rock Hill in the US in 2017.

The Halstead youngster was thrilled to put those disappointments behind her and finally earn the W1 - World Champion's - plate for her bike for the next year, but her feet are staying firmly on the ground.

"That sounds good," she said.

"I didn't really feel nervous, but it was really good to finally get what I wanted.

"I don't think it will change anything as I'll still race the same, but it is just good to know that I'll have the W1 plate for the next year."

Challis has just finished at St Andrew's Primary School in Halstead and, ahead of going to Hedinghams School in September as a Year 7 pupil, had to miss her Year 6 leavers party, but her result in Belgium made it a worthwhile sacrifice.

Her father Tony said: "We tried to keep it low-key this year after the disappointments in Zolder and Rock Hill and she did amazingly well.

"She didn't drop a lap all day and, like all the riders, coped so well with the hot conditions.

"It was 42 degrees in the stands so it was really tough, but Freia did brilliantly.

"She couldn't be happier and she's very pleased with the big shiny trophy she has.

"She has put in a hell of a lot of effort this year off her own back and working with Jules (Allen) and Gavin (Stokes), her coaches at Braintree.

"She has a very proud mum and dad and two very proud brothers as well.

"I don't think it has sunk in yet as she is just so laid back about everything, but she will realise in time what it is that she has achieved and how big this is.

"She just loves riding her bike and being with the other young riders."

Freia's World Championship victory comes on the back of her recent success in the British National BMX Series in Glasgow when she became the first female rider for since Olympic rider Shanaze Reade 13 years ago to ride to victory in a male class.

As well as Freia's success in Zolder, there was also a podium place for fellow Braintree Bullets rider Oli Cutmore.

Cutmoe, who is from Sible Hedingham, finished seventh in the world in the men's 25 to 29 Cruiser Class in Zolder.