Al Box wasn’t slowed by a BMX crash that damaged his bike and took a chunk out of his shoulder during the Canada Grands in Chilliwack.
The Penticton BMX rider surprised himself by winning the 36-40 age group cruiser class twice last weekend.
“I’m almost just beside myself wondering how I did that. I really was not expecting to do that well,” said Box, who didn’t qualify for his main event on Oct. 2. “I’m pretty excited about that. Just haven’t been doing nationals for 10 years. I wasn’t really much into BMX before that. It was kind of a training grounds for me for mountain bike. I’m looking forward to next year because of it.”
Along with winning the Chilliwack national, Box captured the BMX Canada Grands. Winning on Oct. 3 and 4 has energized Box, especially with the younger riders who competed.
“I think them coming out to these national races is really going to kind of energize coaching them over the winter and next spring,” said Box. “Get these kids on some type of program that they can experience what I got out of the sport. I just want to download what I have into them.”
Competing against more experienced riders who have done more national races, Box said they faced pressure, which he didn’t because he had not attended other national races.
“I think that really helped me get my wins. A lot of times the pressure and nervousness is enough to mess you up,” he said of races that can end within 40 seconds. “We’re talking about getting 30 feet from the starting line and one inch ahead of somebody and you can win that way.”
Earning plates and trophies in Chilliwack were Brody McLean in the seven and under cruiser race as he took fifth among six riders, Zane McLean placed sixth in five and under novice against 21 riders and Brody McLean was eighth among 11 riders in seven expert. In the BMX Canada Grands, Brody took fourth in seven and under cruiser, as well as seventh in seven expert and Mia Brown was second in seven novice.
“They are doing really well. A lot of times I’m just impressed they are not breaking down,” said Box of the club’s younger riders. “They do well in the Okanagan then come here and don’t do as well. Really happy they are keeping their spirits up and want to improve.”
Grand Nationals are the final Canadian event of the BMX season and riders from all over Canada and USA compete.