New Glasgow track can inspire next generation of British BMX stars, says Kyle Evans

British BMX star Kyle Evans knows first-hand just how important world-class facilities are to young riders. The 26-year-old was one of the first athletes to benefit from the state-of-the-art BMX track at Manchester’s National Cycling Centre and the 2016 Olympian continues to train at the venue to this day.

That’s why he’s certain that the brand-new Olympic standard BMX track being built in Scotland – being constructed ahead the Glasgow 2018 European Championships – will inspire an exciting new generation of talented young British BMX riders for many years to come.

The new track, which will be located in Knightswood Park in the west of Glasgow, will host all BMX events at Glasgow 2018, a new multi-sport event featuring the existing European Championships for Aquatics, Cycling, Gymnastics, Rowing and Triathlon plus a new Golf Team Championships at Gleneagles.

Tickets for the European BMX Championships at Glasgow 2018 start from just £15 for adults and £7.50 for under-16s and concessions (plus fees). Find out more and buy here.

Kyle – who is busy preparing for this year’s European BMX Championships, which get underway in Bordeoux tomorrow – spoke to Glasgow 2018 about his thoughts on the European Championships and his tips for any young BMX riders with Glasgow in their sights:

Glasgow 2018: BMX is one of four cycling disciplines on show at Glasgow 2018 – how good for the sport is it to be involved in a multi-sport event such as this?

Kyle Evans: I think it should raise the profile having BMX as part of Glasgow 2018. I’ve certainly seen an improvement in my time in the programme, from when I was just riding bikes – and before it was an Olympic sport – to when it was an Olympic sport. I’ve certainly seen a shift in the mind set. All of a sudden younger kids from the age of 10 onwards are actually sat at home watching the elites going off to the Olympic standard track and thinking “Woah, I want to do that”. It just inspires them to work really hard to get there.

Since the BMX track at Broadwood opened, the amount of Scottish riders that are coming to national competitions has grown massively. I can only imagine what the 8-metre start hill is going to do for Scottish Cycling as well as for British Cycling. Even for myself, as an Olympic-programme rider, to know that there’s another track two or three hours’ drive away is going to really help us all when we get to European competitions and World Cups. Every race track on the circuit is different, so to be able to flick between Manchester and Glasgow and to take sessions up to Scotland, for my personal performance, it will help massively.

Glasgow 2018: How important will the new track at Knightswood Park be to the sport of BMX in the UK?

Kyle Evans: It will be massive for BMX and I think it says a lot for the sport in Great Britain as a whole. It’s a huge step in the right direction. I was once a junior athlete six or seven years ago just racing my bike for fun and all of a sudden there was this Olympic standard track built in Manchester. It was a no brainer to step it up, fight for a place on the programme and push the boundaries of my skills.

To have two Olympic standard tracks, one in Glasgow and one in Manchester, with an 8-metre start hill can only make the sport grow. Certainly as a nation, to have such a huge pool of young riders able to visually see where they can progress to – it’s just amazing for the sport.

Glasgow 2018: We are all looking forward to next year but before then there is a lot to compete for. How are preparations going for this weekend’s 2017 European BMX Championships in France?

Kyle Evans: My preparations seem to be all on-track. I’ve been building from the end of last year – when I was in good form – then I worked hard through winter to try and take that next step towards becoming one of the top guys on the circuit. I feel like this season, I’ve managed to prove my worth in Europe and on the World Cup stage.

For the European and World championships, I’m not going to prepare for those any differently than I do for every other race. I’m just going to go into them and practice and perform at that high level to deliver everything I have and hopefully, on the day, I can deliver to a high standard.

I never go to a race completely focused on results. I always just try to be as good as I was the day before and just better myself every race. Ideally for me it’s just about going out there and performing my best, and then hopefully the result will take care of itself.

Glasgow 2018: What is the standard of European BMX like at the moment? Where do you expect your competition to come from this weekend?

Kyle Evans: European BMX is at a very high-level. Some of the best guys on the world circuit are from Europe right now.

The Dutch have a squad of four or five really top guys, as do the French and Swiss. So these European Championships are going to be no easy task and if you want to be on that podium you need to be able to take these guys on. Maris (Strombergs) the two-time Olympic champ from Latvia is also expected to be there as he prepares for the worlds.

So sure it’s not going to be easy but I’m looking forward to the challenge of competing against some of the best riders in the world.

Glasgow 2018: You competed at last year’s Olympic Games in Rio, how will that experience help you going into this year’s European and World Championships?

Kyle Evans: The experience I got in Rio has undoubtedly helped me this season. I learnt a lot about myself in that race like how to control my emotions and since then I’ve been able to put that into practice. But I’ve learnt throughout my career and I always look to take things on board and try to grow and get better each time. It seems to be going well.

The Olympic Games are once every four years and I suppose there’s a bit of hype around it. Everyone sees it as the elite of the elite. But when I competed in Rio it wasn’t against anyone new, these were all the riders I had competed against around Europe and on the World Cup stage.

In terms of the actual experience itself, it’s hard to explain what it’s like until you’re actually there. You’re in a completely different world and the vibe that goes around the Olympic village is incredible. It’s great when all the disciplines are all huddled up together and they cross over; it gives a good team morale and that helps for performance levels.

Glasgow 2018: Finally, back to next year, any tips for young riders with Glasgow in their sights?

Kyle Evans: Just keep working hard and keep your head down. I rode because I just loved riding my bike. That fun aspect of going out with my friends and going on a Tuesday evening to the track with my dad and my family, that was what pushed me on and kept me going. So for me, for the young ones coming through I would just say don’t over train or over think things. Just work hard, ride your bike and get the basic nailed really well. If you do that you’re setting yourself up to be very successful.

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