A BMX club that has been growing at an ever faster pace will hold its annual race next month, with riders from across the region competing.
Chairman and head coach of the Doncaster BMX Club, Russ Brown, said the event on May 5 will be a showcase of regional talent, featuring around 10 novice riders from the borough, who will pit their skills against others from as far south as Telford in Shropshire.
Doncaster tops the ‘Midlands’ region and will stage the third round in the British Cycling affiliated races, following Redditch and Birmingham.
The club, based at Balby Carr School, has hosted a race annually since 2010 when it first opened.
But this year should attract up to 350 riders and a very large crowd as there has been noticeable expansion in the past two years.
The annual races are within a series and riders must qualify in seven of 10 events if they wish to represent the region at the British Championships, said Russ, although this can be dependent on the numbers in each particular age group.
Currently, he added, Doncaster has some strong talent, including the very youngest element with riders of five years upwards showing great potential.
Two seven year olds from Bentley, Obi Jones and Frankie Flaherty are both, already, good, dedicated riders, said Russ, and there are a number within the club who have risen to the elite category from starting out as five or six year olds, and maintaining their interest.
At the other end of the scale, there are riders of 55-plus.
“Our club is self-funding, with a yearly membership fee and strong support from a rank of parental volunteers,” said Russ.
“We attract our membership from a wide catchment because there are so few other facilities. Manchester, Derby and Bradford are the only other real alternatives.
“We run the club as a community and parents take up the sport themselves sometimes after their children become members and they get increasingly involved,” added Russ.
“But novices can work up the scale to go for the national competitions, European and finally the World Championships if they have the necessary skill and dedication.”
“Some riders just like to come and enjoy the race track which is absolutely fine. Those that are serious about it and want to race get some fitness training too…..we work on their core and do a bit of gym work and running.
“It’s structured, disciplined training, as with any sport.
“When they get a taste of success on the track that tends to keep them focused and wanting to do more.”
His daughter Ava is currently riding in the British series and later this year , in July, will compete in the World Championships.
She is training hard, said her dad, and is now in higher age groups so needs to reach peak level during the next weeks.
The Doncaster club volunteers have been working hard to prepare the track for the May race.
“We have been able to use some extra land at the side of the track after speaking to Doncaster Council, and that’s been a big help,” added Russ.
“It’s allowed us easier access to parts of the track and enabled us to do some repairs we wanted to do.
“We are constantly at work on the track, re-surfacing and so on. Our parent volunteers are great with the hours they put in.”
He hopes there will be some new faces at the May 5 event which features a hog roast and ‘exciting spectator sport’.
“It’s Bank Holiday entertainment and we want to make sure people around Doncaster know that it’s happening and they can come and take a look,” added Russ.
“We may get some new members afterwards, as is often the case. It should be a good day.”
Despite a catalogue of injuries, some as serious as a broken leg, Russ’s daughter Ava has been ranked number one in her age group since she began competing in 2014.
After mastering the art of bike riding at a young age, Ava entered and won her first national race at Peckham in 2014.
She subsequently went on to four European Championships and the 2015 World Championships.
After her initial year in competitions she has always qualified for the World Championships.
She competed in one World event, in 2015, then the far flung destinations for the competitions made it impossible for her to get there.
This year, however, it is closer to home in Europe so is feasible, and will be a family trip.
The ultimate goal of the Hungerhill School pupil is to make the British cycling team, then potentially train for a World Championships at elite level, and maybe even go for the Olympics.