Racing to provincials

Penticton's BMX Club has 10 riders advancing to provincials in Langley

MIA BROWN

MIA BROWN

Ten members of the Penticton BMX club have qualified for provincials.

Set to represent the club in Langley at the end of August are Zane and Brody McLean, Nash and Garrett Bayston, Demico and Marquez Gonzalez, Josh Holland, Al Box as well as Corey and Mia Brown. The riders earned the right to compete with the best following strong performances in Kamloops and Vernon on June 20, then Kelowna and Penticton on June 21.

“Overall, our riders have done really well,” said Penticton BMX club president Andrew Bayston.

Box, a former professional BMX rider, relied on previous experience to give him success on the weekend.

“Just been spending a lot of time eating the right foods during the break,” said Box, 40, prior to his last race, which didn’t go well on his home track near Lion’s Park. “Going to sleep early, spinning around on my road bike in between the races. They are just some of the things that a lot of cross country or road racers would be doing. You don’t see that very often in BMX. I want to instill that in the kids.”

Box said while BMX racing has become a family event, he has faced skilled older riders.

“You think it would just be an average day at the park, it’s not,” said Box. “They are extremely fit. A 49-year-old did a 24-foot jump, which is the biggest one in Kelowna. That’s an exceptional feat.

“I’m trying to win a provincial title myself,” he continued.

Holland qualified in the 20-inch category and cruiser. Competing in Kamloops, he won both his races, then finished first and second in Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton. Holland has been to provincials before, but missed out last year due to a broken collar bone.

The provincial qualifying race in Penticton featured 24 motos with 109 riders. When asked about the turnout, Box said it was low in his opinion, but firmly believes once they get a new track those numbers will improve. He said their current track doesn’t fulfill the needs of a lot of the riders.

“That’s a big issue for everybody involved,” he said. “It’s such a great family sport. I’d like to see it really pick up. Get better for the town.”

Bayston was happy with the numbers and thankful to those who traveled (some as far as Prince George) to their track to compete.

“We want to offer them the same calibre of track that they offered us,” said Bayston. “We’re hoping it’s the last provincial race here.”