BMX: Champ twice over

By Annette Lambly

A 50-year-old former Te Kopuru man has achieved something few others have done - two wins from two classes at an Australian National BMX Championship in the same year.

Kevin Hilliam won both his age-group classes at the national 2013 championships held in Brisbane this month.

Born in Te Kopuru, the eldest son of dairy farmers Mervyn and Lynda, Kevin grew up at Arapohue, starting his working career as a motorcycle mechanic for Mike Hannell Motors in 1978.

Since then two wheels have dominated his life - he has worked as a technician on Australian Championship Yamaha TZ250's Grand Prix bikes and Yamaha Superbike R1's and says the knowledge he has gathered over the years has helped him with BMX competition.

Kevin has lived in Ferny Hills, northwest of Brisbane, for the past 20 years and has been involved in the sport since his first son, Adam, watched a family friend in 1998.

Since 2000 Kevin, wife Paula and sons Adam and Liam have been racing all around Queensland. Adam and Liam have raced state championships and now Adam competes in the Men's Elite class and Liam in Junior Elite.

Paula's first attempt at a state championship saw her finish fourth in 2001 and second in 2004.

But Kevin's first taste of National Championships was not until 2008 in Adelaide.

Since then he has pushed many state-level riders for the top position on the podium - taking two state championship titles, one in 2006 and the other in 2010.

The road to his double victory this month has not been without its challenges and family sacrifices. Kevin says he owes everything to his wife for her understanding and patience in a sport he had become obsessed with.

He shares his knowledge and time with a small Pine Rivers BMX Club at Brendale near Brisbane, devoting many hours to the riders and achieving successes such as the club winning the National Club Team Challenge Champions in Cairns in 2011.

Other achievements have led to club riders becoming World Plate holders and qualifying 35 club riders for the 2013 World BMX Championships to be held in Auckland this July.

As to racing, Kevin said to be the best you had to race the best: "There is that moment when you are on the gate and as the race call starts any barriers and differences between you and the persons next to you are removed. This is when you know it is rider against rider," he said.

- Northern Advocate

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