Park riders set to take on the world!

Blackpool's Stanley Park might seem an unlikely breeding ground for world class competitors.

Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 1:01 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:28 pm
Blackpool BMX riders from left Imogen Hill, Wade Agar, Lauren Anyon and Molly Cranshaw

But later this month, four youngsters who train for their sport at the park will fly to America to take on the world’s best.

The teenagers are all members of Blackpool BMX Club which meets at the track built in the park six years ago.

They have been chosen to represent Great Britain at the UCI 2017 BMX World Championships in Rock Hill, USA.

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Blackpool BMX riders line up at the track in Stanley Park

Imogen Hill, 14, Molly Cranshaw, 13, Lauren Anyon, 13 and Wade Agar, 16, are all heading to South Carolina for the competition that begins on July 24.

They earned the right to compete by achieving top results during the 2016 British BMX National Series.

Andy Hill, secretary of Blackpool BMX Club, said: ”We are extremely proud of Imogen, Molly, Lauren and Wade.

“All four of them have worked extremely hard to achieve the qualification standard required to represent Great Britain at the world championships.

Blackpool BMX riders on the track at Stanley Park

“They have been training for years to reach this level and we really hope all of their hard work is rewarded with some fantastic results.

“World titles are a very real possibility for these young riders from Blackpool who have all achieved incredible results in recent seasons.”

Around 3,000 riders from more than 40 countries will be competing at the world championships.

Imogen, Molly and Lauren are all members of the British Cycling Olympic Development programme.

Blackpool BMX riders line up at the track in Stanley Park

Molly is currently ranked number seven in Europe and is British champion for girls aged 13/14, while Lauren is British champion in the girls 15/16 age group.

Wade won a number of rounds of the 2016 British National Series and Imogen had success racing in the elite women’s category, racing against women a number of years older and more experienced than herself.

Imogen, a former world number seven, and Lauren, the current world number five, are both hoping to improve on previous performances at the BMX world championships.

But for Wade this year’s championships will be his first experience of racing at world level.

Blackpool BMX riders on the track at Stanley Park

Blackpool BMX Club meets every week at the BMX track on Stanley Park and offers open sessions and coaching by British Cycling qualified coaches for all ages.

The facility at Stanley Park was built around six years ago, funded using a £350,000 grant from Cycling England.

The club has grown since it was first set up, and now has around 100 members and three regular coaches.

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The BMX track at Stanley Park, was given a £20,000 upgrade last year.

The track was resurfaced and new pens were fitted which are used by riders to line up in ahead of the start of a race.

In 2016 the facility hosted a national competition for the first time with around 800 riders taking part.

BMX riding has been an Olympic sport since 2008.

BMX is an abbreviation for bicycle motocross, and originated in the US in the 1970s.

Crashes are common, but the same riders compete against each other in a number of heats in order to determine who qualifies for later stages of a competition.