BMX athletes of the early generations spent their time racing on flat tracks, small jumps, dirt corners, riding in platform pedals and using equipment that was still evolving with little or no science behind design.
All races began from small dirt starting hills, each gate had its own free-falling mechanics triggered with a foot pedal, electronic gates were not yet the standard, making technique specific to each event. Long before BMX coaching existed, constant decision making, and creative thinking faced every rider due to the challenges of the non-standard environment, forcing adaptation, all of which resulted in a higher level of BMX IQ development.
Throughout this time BMX specific advice was hard to find, timing equipment and video camera's expensive, body building/power lifting magazines and flicking through USA BMX magazines for training ideas is how workouts were designed. Inspiration came from USABMX hall of fame athletes like Stu Thompson, Greg Hill, Eric Rupe and Harry Leary. Motivation from icons from this era both fact and fiction such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, the 'Rocky' franchise and various sports stars: Michael Jordon and Mike Tyson to name a few. Hard work, discipline underpinned with passion and good times were the priority within the mindset.
In Australia by the end of the 1980's a group of pros' were evolving, following in the footsteps of previous Australian champions Mick Wiltshire, Wayne McIntosh and Jamie Hales.
Leigh Egan, Paul Addams, Tim Ward, Dean Crisp, Darren May and Bill Dixon had become the new leaders of this generation, due to their resilience, attitude and a tradesman like work ethic. Dean Crisp and Darren May became entrepreneurs within the BMX industry, developing and manufacturing products, Leigh Egan opened a bike shop and remains a fan of the sport and appreciates the skill of today's BMX athletes. Paul, Tim and Bill ventured outside the sport with the same entrepreneurial vision. This was an intelligent, tough crew who knew what it took to achieve success both on and off the bike. These are the true trailblazers of BMX racing in Australia. The up and coming hardcore riders of the 90's era were developing the same hard working, disciplined approach and were looking forward to competing against this group with ambitions of emulating them in the future.
As we fast forward into the new millennium, BMX racing continued to evolve at a fast pace, with the acceptance of SPD pedals, UCI random starting cadences and the SX starting hill being tested. The inclusion of BMX race in the Olympic Games was becoming a reality, it was safe to say some of the biggest changes in the sport were on the horizon. These new changes were viewed by some as distractions and opportunities by others. Either way, there was a lot to process by involved athletes and support systems within our sport.
Warwick Stevenson, Kyle Bennett and Khalen Young embraced the current status of the sport and took the necessary risks required in order to chase the professional BMX dream.
Warwick Stevenson left Australia for the USA at age 18, he made an impact immediately on both NBL and ABA professional circuits. Warwick turned AA pro in record time, securing sponsorship and began competing with the best the 90's produced, winning the ABABMX the championships in 2001, 2003 and UCI world championship in the Netherlands during 2004.
Khalen Young had a career highlight with a memorable battle in 2007 at the UCI world championships in Canada, he battled with Kyle from start to finish, silver medal was the reward. In the following year of 2008, he won the ABA AA Pro championship.
Kyle added value to his already well decorated resume in 2007 when he won his third UCI world championship gold medal in Canada. Kyle was the first ever BMX rider to qualify for the USA men's team when BMX debut in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Kyle Bennett will be remembered as a rider who changed the game and one of the best in the business of BMX race - he is missed very much by those that were close to him and will never be forgotten.
In their time on the professional BMX circuit these athletes contributed to raising the level of the sport, along with their peers from the hard working, highly competitive 80's and 90's generation, all who influenced the BMX race culture throughout the globe.
Sean Dwight's student of the game 'self-taught' methodology, has developed as a result of four decades in the BMX race world, mentoring a wide variety of athletes and coaches with varying or challenging temperaments in the sport, being forced to learn with each opportunity presented. Sean's perseverance through triumph and tragedy has provided strength and wisdom to many, equipping them with the tools to navigate through the numerous sports fads, trends and distractions. The values developed patiently over the years continue to flow through the generations, this can be seen in athletes both past and present.