Former BMX pros back on the gate at the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships
We talk to several former Elite riders who are competing in Rock Hill in the UCI BMX World Challenge classes in the days leading up to the UCI BMX World Championships.
Once a BMX rider, always a BMX rider. Even after retirement from competition, the sport remains in the blood, and the worldwide friendships struck up between travelling athletes are not forgotten. When the news came out that the 2017 UCI World Championships were going to be held in the USA, several former BMX pro riders decided to sign up for the UCI BMX World Challenge classes. Some haven't seriously touched a BMX bike for many years, so we decided to check in with a few of the host country’s former pros to see what motivated them to make a racing come-back in Rock Hill.
Greg Romero already has a UCI World Championships silver medal to his name, but hasn't raced for the past seven years. "Coach G," as he is known, explains: "The prep for Rock Hill was tough, I had to wait til May to start BMX training as I had a big criterium race here in Socal and it's just hard to simultaneously do both an endurance and power sport. I dedicated 8 weeks solid going into Worlds week. I have some old injuries (neck) that were limiting, and every week there was something that hurt that needed therapeutic attention." Greg will be racing the 35+ class against former Elite rider Tony Szynaka who hasn't raced a UCI World Championship for 20 years. Tony's preparation wasn't perfect and he wishes he had more time to race going into the Worlds but he's out to enjoy and will definitely ready for a post-race drink.
After racing the Veteran class in the USA for ten years Tim Dinger explains why he scaled back to the 35+ class: "At 40 years old, I decided to race challenge class this year as well as cruiser. The past 2 years I have had some injuries and responsibilities that have restricted the amount of time I have to get to the races as well as train. With only racing a couple times per year, it just didn’t make sense to race Masters this year with the level that that class is on. Tyler Brown is my pick this year for Masters – TB is super-fast with the skills to back it up."
The said Tyler Brown had his own reason to sign up for Rock Hill: "I think for me the biggest thing is the UCI Worlds being here in the USA! I have never raced a Worlds in the USA so I am really stoked to compete on home soil and hopefully the race will help bring awareness of the sport to more people!" the Chula Vista track operator said. Tyler would have like to set off from the 8-metre start ramp: "I can 100% handle the big hill! I still ride the tracks here from time to time to keep the skills up. I wish the Masters class was off the big hill, or we at least had to do the pro straights on the track! That would be killer! Sign me up, I am ready!"
It's been a couple of years since former pro Chad Street hit the 8-metre hill but he's been doing lots of gates and spent lots of track time getting ready for the 35+ class in Rock Hill. On the question: Serious on the track, beers after the race? Chad replied: "Of course. Going to have fun and take it all in."
There is little doubt that most racers will line up on the gate to write more BMX stories and form more friendships. History in the making.