A handful of Penticton BMX racers competing in the provincial final in Langley Aug. 30 returned victorious.
Al Box won a first-place plate in the 36-40 (age) cruiser, Josh Holland in 16 cruiser, and Brody McLean in seven-year-old class and cruiser.
Holland also received a No. 3 plate in 16 expert, while Jesse Kuhn received a No. 10 plate in 8 class, Marquez Gonzalez No. 2 in seven class, Mia Brown No. 7 in seven class, Joe Kuhn got No. 4 in six class, Zane McLean No. 6 in five and under class while Demico Gonzalez got No. 7 in the same class.
Box, who will compete in the Grand Nationals in Chilliwack on Oct. 2, said the race went very well for him. He enjoyed the technical track and the obstacles placed. He also faced competition that had a strong track record of racing.
“They still haven’t lost their interest in being extremely aggressive,” Box joked. “The competition was right there behind me. It’s certainly not a cake walk by any means. I guess an interesting factor for this race is that the second-place points rider. I did not get to race him all season. A lot of riders don’t see one an another until that race.
“For me it’s kind of intimidating when you’ve never raced some of those people,” he continued. “You have no idea how you are going to do. You are thinking about that all season long. It’s a bit of a head game. I did a lot of preparation for it. I think that works against some of those riders not coming to the rest of the races over here.”
The win allows Box to move forward and earn respect from the younger Penticton riders so they see what he is trying to pass down to them. He feels Penticton has been devoid of skilled riders in the older categories. As riders age up and become better, they often stop when they are 14 or 15 and don’t pursue a career in cycling.
“A lot of it has to do with the facility being substandard,” he said. “We have the ability to put people way up in the cycling world and we have the right type of people behind them.”
Box is energized to give back. He wants the younger riders to know they don’t have to grow up in the bigger centres to make it big.
As for Holland, he feels he could have performed better had he made some changes like eating more on that day and better training.
“There is always next year,” he said. “I have been riding with them all year at other provincials. We all know how we are. It was more challenging than the local track that’s for sure.”
Holland is finished racing on the bigger stages this season, but looks forward to the remaining races at the Penticton BMX track.
The Penticton BMX Club holds practices on Monday’s and has race days on Thursday near Lion’s Park. They have registration from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. Racing starts immediately after.