Great Britain star ISIDORE pays homage to 'lifesaving' Peckham BMX club
GLASGOW - Great Britain star Quillan ISIDORE has heaped praise on the BMX club founded by a radio DJ in a deprived part of south London which has produced one third of the Great Britain squad preparing for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.
"Honestly, it has saved some kids' lives," ISIDORE said ahead of the championships, which run from 10 to 11 August at Knightswood Park in Glasgow. "Peckham is quite a dangerous area and you can easily go along with some gangs and go down the wrong path, but then they come into the BMX club and it's like a whole family community."
The driving force behind Peckham Challengers BMX Club is DJ and radio presenter CK Flash - real name Michael PUSEY - who raced BMX in his youth.
"Somebody rang me up on the radio one day and said can I come and help these young people down at a little club in south London," PUSEY said.
"I was on one of the biggest stations in London at the time - working with (grime MCs) Dizzee Rascal, Wiley and all those guys - and I think they thought I might come for two slots and then leave. I don't think they realised that I would take it to the level it is."
After securing the support of the local council in 2004, PUSEY moved the club from Brockwell Park in Brixton to a disused spit of land sandwiched between two tower blocks controlled by rival gangs in neighbouring Peckham.
"There a lot of kids there that would definitely be going the wrong way," PUSEY said. "I always say to people, Peckham BMX club is not just about BMX, it's a constitution of good behaviour."
Despite its harsh surroundings and a barely rideable 150-metre 'pump' track, the club soon started producing national champions like ISIDORE and his Glasgow 2018 team-mate Kye WHYTE.
"I don't think any other 12-year-old in the world was doing the amount of training I was doing," ISIDORE said. "A year after I joined the club I was British champion so I stuck with it. CK has a really good work ethic and he also works on the mental side of things, which is really important for you as a kid."
PUSEY said he "hounded" Southwark Council for six years until a suitable site was found for the construction of a competition-standard 400-metre track in Burgess Park, to where Peckham BMX Club moved in 2013.
Since then, a production line of promising young riders including ISIDORE and WHYTE, and their brothers Tian and Tre, have all flourished on the big stage.
"I told Kye, Tre, Quillan and all the others, 'Listen, don't get upset, you're coming from Peckham. Don't lose your cool, let the track do the talking. And that's why they are so popular," said PUSEY, who received an MBE from The Queen in 2016.
"They have so many manners coming from an area like that, compared to kids who have got money who are a bit stuck up and go on like they are the bees knees [the best].
"We do save lives and we've been doing it for years like that."
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