Some of SA’s greatest BMX stars will be departing this week to represent South Africa at the 2015 UCI BMX World Championships in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, from 21-25 July.
Looking to defend his 2014 World Numbers is Giba Cycling Club’s Tyrone Johns, who is currently World Number 1 in the 20” Challenge Class in the Men 30+ category and World Number 2 in the Cruiser Men’s 30-34 class.
“I will definitely be trying to defend my World Championship title. For the past few years I’ve been riding on an indoor track. And I don’t want to be known as an indoor track specialist,” he laughed.
Johns suffered a crash earlier this year which set him back, but said that preparations have come right since then.
Kane Herbert (Alrode BMX Club Gauteng) said that the excitement is building knowing that World Champs is just around the corner. “The nerves don't kick in until I’m there at the World Champs, but I thrive off that feeling – it’s what keeps me going back every year to try and better my World Number.”
Herbert mentioned that World Champs has been his only major goal since the beginning of the year, and so preparations have been going strong since then. “I have prepared extremely hard with my coach, Jason, at Crossfit Southern Suburbs for this event. The Nationals have been the building blocks in order to get me ready for Worlds. Without sounding too positive I am really going for the top spot this year and believe that I have done everything right in order to achieve World 1 in the 25-29 age group.”
Promising 16-year-old BMX rider, Manqoba Madida (Giba Cycling Club KZN), is also confident ahead of the World Champs. “I feel like I am going to do well this year. I am riding strong and fast. I’m very excited,” he said.
Madida left some words of wisdom for aspiring young riders: “In order to do well and reach your goals, you need to focus on the sport and tell yourself that you can make it. That can help you go forward. Just believe in what you are doing and what you want to become, then you will make it – that’s what I did.”
Tim O’Brien of the Lahee Park Club in KwaZulu-Natal is all-systems go ahead of next week’s event. “Preparations ahead of Worlds are going very well. With my job, my hours are pretty flexible so I am able to train twice a day.”
The Cruiser 40+ rider has always enjoyed the sport. “I used to race BMX back in the 80s when I was a ‘lightie’, and then started again in 2011 when my kids could ride as well.”
Earlier this year, O’Brien suffered a crash, which landed him in hospital for three days after a bad knock to the head and an injured hand. “A few weeks later I thought of doing Nationals, and I did and I won. It was then that I thought I’d be fit enough for Worlds,” he said.
O’Brien felt that racing plays a small part in the world of BMX riding. “It’s the training, preparation and physiotherapy that takes up the majority of the time,” he laughed.
Junior Elite rider, Tyler Klumper (Giba Cycling Club KZN) could not be happier as he heads off on his World Champs journey. “Going to Worlds means absolutely everything to me! Being selected to represent South Africa at such a big race is a huge honour for me,” he said.
Klumper felt that the most difficult part of the BMX discipline is the commitment needed to do well in the sport. “You have to put in many hours of training and riding in order to achieve your goals. BMX becomes your life,” he said.
He also mentioned that, if he had to offer advice to any young riders in the sport hoping to achieve their BMX goals, he would say: “Never give up! Everyone starts somewhere and as long as you don't give up you will become a great rider. Also, the most important thing is to make sure that you are always having fun.”
The team departs on Thursday for Belgium where they will then have time to settle in and get some training in on the track before the event starts.
For more information about the 2015 UCI BMX World Championships, click here: http://www.bmxzolder.be/wkbmx/en/