"Now we've been given help by Access Sport, that was our saviour".
Southwark became the inaugural winners of the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games BMX competition on May 19th after an action packed event in Hornfair Park, Greenwich.
Access Sport’s BMX Legacy Project Manager, Joe McTague said: “This is a landmark achievement for the BMX Legacy Project. The event was held on the new Greenwich BMX track and all 5 of the new BMX Legacy clubs sent riders to represent their boroughs. Competitions like this really spur on the inspirational community clubs to continue to grow and help the young people at their clubs be part of the action.”
That is why, back in mid-2011 Access Sport teamed up with British Cycling to persuade the London Youth Games organisers to include BMX as a demonstrate sport in 2012. The success of this year’s event makes a worthy claim for BMX to be entered into the London Youth Games as a full point scoring sport from 2013.
Everyone on the day seemed to have a great time, from the riders to the event organisers. British Cycling’s Southeast Regional Events Officer, Eric Lejune commented on how well organised the event was: “All the races went really well, the day was superbly organised. The time-trail system was great, and allowed the juniors an experience that they would not normally receive”.
John Gillman, the Mayor of host borough Greenwich, on hand to hand out medals to the winners expressed to Access Sport the deep impact the new BMX track had had on the local area. He explained how, although several members of the local community were opposed to the construction of the BMX track it adds tremendous value to the community. “Before its construction, the park was almost exclusively used by drug users. Now, in contrast, the park is full of thriving young people, who are using the BMX track and improving their health and fitness.”
Jennie Grace and Lisa Sheppard of the BMX Legacy Project club Greenwich BMX, also expressed their views of the value added to the community by the construction of the BMX parks. They felt that the new BMX track in Greenwich brought new people into the park to use the facilities, and so helped keep kids of the street. They also said the competition was “a brilliant day for the kids and a brilliant experience”.
CK Flash, a renowned figure in the BMX community and club leader of Peckham BMX was an invaluable person on the day. CK spent hours on the microphone commentating on the action and encouraging the young riders. “It was a good introduction to the sport for families and the community, and helped develop the future of BMX, by helping develop new talent”.
Alistair Findlay, from British cycling, who was vital to the co-ordination of the competition, felt that it was a “Fantastic day, the sun was shining, and there was great participation from each of the Boroughs”.
90 BMX competitors, representing 17 London Boroughs were entered into three age categories: Juniors (school years 3 to 6), Youths (school years 7 to 9), and Seniors (school years 10 to 13).
Each rider was given two opportunities to set their fastest lap time. The fastest 16 riders for each of the three age categories then competed in two 8 man finals with the bottom 8 competing in the B Final for the 9th to 16th positions and the top 8 riders competing in A Final for the 1st to 8th positions. Outside of the top 16, the riders were ranked based on the time-trial lap.
At the end of the day Southwark collected the inaugural Diamond Cup after collecting 245 points, ahead of silver medallists Havering on 227 and Hillingdon on 190. A mention has to be given here to the Greenwich riders who missed out on Bronze by just one point after being formed for less than one year – an incredible achievement.
In the individual awards Tommy Parker of Redbridge took gold in the senior category, Joshua Wallis of Havering took individual gold in the youth section and Southwark's Dieran Macaulay-Perry was the winner in the junior event.