Following on from its spectacular debut at the Tokyo Olympics and a million pounds of investment in community facilities, British Cycling has announced plans for the future of BMX freestyle, aimed at nurturing the grassroots of the sport, encouraging more people to get involved and sustaining success at the highest level.
To build on the inspiration of Olympic champion Charlotte Worthington and bronze medallist Declan Brooks and over a million pounds of community facilities investment, British Cycling has established a BMX freestyle commission including expertise across the discipline to guide the national governing body’s support of the development of the sport with five aims:
- Work with existing organisers, facilities and partners to develop a national competition structure from 2022
- Create education and training opportunities for coaches, judges and event organisers
- Establish an inclusive talent pathway with the introduction of a network of talent development centres in 2022 linked to facilities
- Engage with the BMX freestyle community to support grassroots development and grow awareness of how young people and adults can get involved
- Work in partnership with facilities to encourage more females to have a go and ensure access for local communities
The foundations for this work have already been laid, thanks to the Places to Ride fund, in partnership with Sport England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, with over £1million of investment in facilities across five sites and the training ramps used by Worthington and Brooks, formerly housed in Telford, as they put the finishing touches to their medal-winning routines.
The investments include a mix of facilities to support participation, talent development and events, including Asylum Skatepark in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Adrenaline Alley in Corby, Junction 4 Skatepark in Darwen, an Olympic standard Freestyle Park and modular ramps to support demonstration and taster events. A long-term home for the Olympic standard park used by Worthington and Brooks will be decided in the coming months, working with the BMX Freestyle Commission with the aim of supporting participation, talent development and event activity.
Dani Every, British Cycling Delivery Director, said: “BMX freestyle, thanks to the heroic performances of Charlotte and Declan at the Tokyo Olympics, has captured the attention of the whole country so I am delighted to be announcing our ambitions for this exciting discipline of cycle sport.
“With the support of a commission which features expertise from the BMX freestyle community across facilities, coaching, judging and former elite riders, we have begun the serious business of ensuring the hard-earned achievements of Charlotte and Declan deliver a long-term legacy.
“Our plans are aimed at producing medallists of the future but – just as importantly – also encouraging sustainable growth of BMX freestyle at community level and providing, for the first time, a structure of national competition. BMX freestyle, as well as BMX racing, are vitally important to British Cycling as we work to fulfil our commitment to make cycling more accessible and more relevant to more people in more communities across the country.”
British Cycling BMX Freestyle Commission chair Harry Tucker said: “The commission will be working with colleagues at British Cycling over the coming months to develop a long-term strategy aimed at building, supporting and growing interest across all aspects of BMX freestyle including park, street, dirt, vert and flatland.
“I am delighted at the way British Cycling have sought the involvement of the freestyle community – drawing on our insight and knowledge and combining that with their expertise in sport development and ability to secure funding support.”
Andy Farr, British Cycling head of business planning and transformation, said: “Our insight and community-led approach to facility investment means BMX freestyle represents a significant opportunity to encourage more people to try the sport with the right funding in the right places.
“The five facilities plus the modular freestyle ramps we have supported via the Places to Ride fund will provide important community, regional and national infrastructure to support development of the sport and provide opportunities across the pathway from recreation to talent development and events.”
The founder members of the BMX Freestyle Commission are Harry Tucker (chair), Stephen Rooke, Kayley Ashworth, Shaun Scarfe, Anthony Ramsey, Jonathan Wilson, Mandy Young MBE DL. They will meet monthly to review British Cycling progress, advise on future direction and make recommendations to the board of British Cycling. If members of the BMX freestyle community would like to support the plans they can email email@example.com