BMX: A hard Jones to keep up with

By Peter Thornton

Young Kiwi rider steps up to take on the world's best.

BMW rider Trent Jones. Photo / Jerry Landrum
BMW rider Trent Jones. Photo / Jerry Landrum

The challenge for aspiring New Zealand BMX riders in recent times has been keeping up with the Joneses.

Well, one Jones, anyway - 18-year-old Trent Jones, who will be taking on the best riders on the planet at the UCI BMX World Championships in Auckland's Vector Arena next month.

The teenager from North Canterbury is a member of BikeNZ's high performance squad to compete at the world championships in his home country in his first year in the elite ranks.

He had strong form last year, finishing fifth in the final of the junior men at Birmingham before moving to the open ranks, a move that has had its challenges.

"The riders that you used to look up to and learn off have now become your biggest competitors, so I guess the whole mindset towards those other athletes had to change quite rapidly," he said.

Jones is preparing for the championships in the USA with the BikeNZ squad, recently qualifying for his first main final in the USA BMX Nationals series.

Born in Ireland, where his family were working at the time, Jones got into BMX when he was 9 and living in Northland.

"I was attracted to sports that had some danger like skateboards and surfboards.

"I played rugby, too, but when I was 14 I missed out on rugby selection because I got injured at BMX. So from that point I stuck with it.

"I enjoy individual sports more. I like to be responsible for my own efforts and not have to rely on others. And I am definitely a speed and danger addict."

That ruled him out of the family business, building golf courses, which took the family to North Canterbury in recent times.

Jones has dedicated himself to his sport and at the end of the year will be moving to Cambridge when BikeNZ centralises its programme there.

Although Jones is a relative boy among men at the world championship, he has lofty goals.

"I would like to think that I am capable of making the top eight and getting into that final. Of course if I do that, then BMX being what it is, anything can happen from there."

His big goal is to qualify for the New Zealand team going to the 2016 Rio Olympics and develop a professional career.

But the initial focus is on the world championships, which are being staged in New Zealand for the first time.

"It's pretty huge, just in the fact that you do not have to travel for 48 hours to get to the world champs is a massive bonus in itself.

"Also, being in a city you know with a crowd that is all behind you is going to be an unexplainable experience."

And for one so young he is not letting the occasion get to him.

"I just look at it as any other race, as the more you build it up as 'the world champs' the more pressure you are creating for yourself.

"The plan is to keep my pre-race routines the same as all other races and my mind-set the same. That will leave me in the purest state of mind to perform."


The UCI BMX World Championships

When: July 24-28
Where: Vector Arena, Auckland.

For more information visit: www.bmxworldsnz.com

- NZ Herald

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