Glasgow's new track will take British BMX to another level, says Kyle Evans
British BMX rider Kyle Evans came up to Scotland to try out the new Glasgow BMX centre at Knightswood Park that athletes from across Europe will line up on at Glasgow 2018 this August;.
His verdict? A fast, elite level track that will test rider's technical ability and nerve!
Riders came together last month for the HSBC National Series and enjoyed the first ride on the £3.7m development. And Evans was delighted to use the opportunity to try out the new track himself.
Evans has enjoyed a successful season thus far, winning the European Cup in Verona, Italy and coming sixth in the World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Anything less than a win will be disappointing for the Manchester rider and he spoke with the European Championships about the new track, his season so far and new talent coming through the ranks.
What are your thoughts on the new track, how did it ride?
I really liked it I thought the track was mega. I went up as I knew the National was there and I know a lot of the people from the club so I thought I’d go up and see if I could get on it.
What can riders, young and old, look forward to if they're having a go on the track?
For me the best way to explain it is that it’s a rider’s track. The faster and the harder you attack it the easier it becomes. If you’re not confident enough to attack it 100% then I don’t think you get the full effect of the track and as such, you don’t get how the track should ride. You need to be very confident and precise with your bike and be able to go as fast as you can and be able to push through the jumps to gain and maintain a lot of speed.
What does it mean for British Cycling to have another pro BMX track?
For me it’s another step in the right direction to achieve my top end goals, not saying Manchester is the best place to be, it’s a great facility, indoor 24/7 but the flip side to that is all the other world cups are outdoors, so for myself and the team to have a track which is of such a high standard and so technically demanding, very similar to Manchester, but both in different ways, they challenge different areas of your bike riding skills. So, for me this is what is going to take Team GB BMX from one level to the next and hopefully in the future we’ll see much more talent.
I think we'd ideally like more depth within the British BMX squad. if you look at USA they have 20/25 athletes turning up at World Cups. It’s what we need as a nation to hopefully get the younger kids in the area who can access that track and gain experience riding it. So hopefully in the future we can have a larger pool and a bigger team to achieve World and Olympic success. Even for myself and grass roots it’s going to benefit everyone.
How was it to get the win at the European Cup in Verona, Italy?
I’ve been to that track a few times and really like it, again it’s a really fast open track, a great race track and obviously to start the season off with a win at Europeans is a confidence boost. I did my best and turned up with how I felt was the best preparation and got a win, so obviously that gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season. Now I have to maintain that and be consistent throughout the season. I was super pleased but again that’s just a stepping stone for the World Champs and then the Olympics.
Sixth in Baku at the World Champs, that must’ve been another learning curve, what was the main take away point?
The biggest thing I got from that was the month leading into the champs, it gave me so much more confidence and belief in myself that I know what I’m doing and that I’m on the right path rather than kind of having doubts in your mind. For me, I won the European in Italy which gave me confidence then I went to the World Cup a week later and got my head kicked in. And just from that point there I knew that going into that first World Cup if some things were different I could’ve performed better. So, from that point I sat back and thought it didn’t go well and should change a few things. I sat down with the coaches and we did that and to go to Baku and come away with a sixth place was good.
At the moment, the World Champs table is the most intense it’s ever been, there are 20 to 25 dudes who could turn up on any day and win that race so even to just get to the quarter-finals, semi-finals and then the final each race is just as hard as the next, it’s almost like you’re racing three finals in a day, it’s absolutely crazy. It’s great for the sport but it’s tough for an athlete to make sure you compete. So to go there and perform really well was a sense of relief and a confidence boost and looking back at my preparation leading into that race obviously I spoke out and said some things to the coaches which I thought could help me and we put it into a plan of action and it came off so that gave me more of an understanding of myself and how I can actually perform when you build the right team around you and you make sure everyone is aiming for the same goal.
What’s the minimum for you coming into Glasgow?
At the end of the day for me it’s a win. I’d be happy if I get on the podium, anything less than that will be a slight disappointment. I’ve been performing super well, got the first in Europe, I’ve been cycling with the best for the past 5/6 years. People aren’t going to be turning up there to have fun on their bikes, they’ll be turning up there to win the race and I’ll be doing exactly the same, that’s what I’ll be putting all my training and focus into and I’ll be going to win that race. I guess when I get there it’s just a matter of being able to deliver and perform and be comfortable knowing I’ve prepared to the best of my ability. It’s just about believing in yourself and doing the best you can do. If I go there and don’t get the win but know I’ve done my best I’ll just have to go back to the drawing board and work out where I could’ve been better. But at the same time, I always plan and aim to win.
Who else in the GB squad should we be looking out for?
That’s a good question, as they all are impressive in their own right, but I’d say Kye Whyte is certainly showing some really good signs of being able to perform at that top level and be in the mix with those top guys. He’s not the strongest starter but technically good and when it comes to racing he’s very aggressive and makes moves in the pack. So, if he could build an engine and get a better start technique and put himself more in the race at the start then for sure he’ll be a great racer as he’s already showing some great signs.
Is Tokyo 2020 the true aim?
Well I wouldn’t be in Manchester training so hard if I didn’t want to get to Tokyo! I went to London as a reserve, went to Rio and it didn’t quite go to plan but at the end of the day that was a massive learning curve for me. Eight weeks before that me and Liam crashed, he did his collar bone and I did my wrist and at that point I didn’t even think I’d be on the start line, I thought it had all been thrown down the pan. So, to be part of the whole scene was obviously amazing but at the same time knowing that your riding with a bit of an injury and not performing at your best and show what you can do is frustrating. For me the aim is to go to Tokyo and go back for redemption and show people I wasn’t just there to have a good time and I want to be one of the best in my sport. The plan is to go there and use the next few years as stepping stones and learning curves and try and get as much experience as possible, racing and beating the bets and hopefully turn up at the Olympics firing on all cylinders and fighting for medals.
Be there at the Glasgow BMX Centre in Knightswood Park on the 10th and 11th August. Tickets range from £7.50 - £25 and can be found here: https://www.glasgow2018.com/bethere-bmx