Caloundra BMX racer eager to mix it with the best
BMX: After capping his year in incredible fashion, Jayce Cunning has now shifted his sights to snaring breakthrough results against the sport’s elite stars and a future Olympic berth.
The 22-year-old Caloundra rider won the ROC (Race of Champions), the Grand Nationals and was crowned the overall 2019 USA BMX A Pro class national champion following a sizzling finale to the season late last month.
It was a dream result for the rising star, who has pushed himself to the limit during a busy year on the second tier of the American circuit.
“It felt amazing,” Cunning said.
“To be able to win all year and actually deal with the pressure and win both of those back-to-back felt incredible because I put a lot of work in for those ones.
“I feel really good, this is definitely the best I’ve ever been riding so hopefully I can keep it going into next year and keep my training consistent and just stay on the bike.”
He’s got big plans for the new year, stepping into the top tier of the sport, and is intent on maintaining his form.
“Next year I’m moving into the elite class, or AA Pro, which is the Olympic level,” he said.
“I’ll do all the world cups, which is like 10 races in Australia, Holland, England and America.”
He’s keen to qualify for the world titles and then attack the Grand Nationals again.
“My main goal is to get my feet wet in the class and get experience with the bigger faster guys … and prove to myself that I can do it because I know that I’m fast enough, it’s just keeping it together mentally,” he said.
“That’s my plan, just to get experience, and then build towards the next four years up to Paris (Olympics) in 2024.”
While the Olympics is a target, Cunning was especially eager to conquer the elite AA Pro class.
“That’s the pinnacle and was always the pinnacle before BMX got into the Olympics so that’s definitely one thing I want to achieve in the sport before I retire,” he said.
He expected his step into the elite class next year would be a challenge, but was eager to give it a good shake.
“It’s going to be pretty tough because it’s all the top guys in the world, that’s the top class in the sport of BMX so that’s the pinnacle and it’s not going to get any harder than that,” he said.
“I’ll be racing dudes I’ve looked up to since I started BMX so it’s going to be pretty crazy racing some of those guys. I’ve watched them at the last three Olympic Games and it’s going to be crazy to get on the gate next to them and try and beat them.”
One of the talents he is particularly eager to battle with is Corben Sharrah who recently took out the elite grand nationals title.
“He’s such a smooth rider and someone I’ve always aspired to be like so it’s going to be exciting to get on the gate with him and see what I can do,” he said.
Cunning said there was plenty he had to work on in a bid to be ready for the first round of the UCI BMX World Cup in Shepparton in February.
“I definitely need to work on my starts, I’m just not as big and powerful as these elite guys,” he said.
“ I made it work in (second tier) but I definitely need to get bigger and stronger to be able to compete with these guys on the start
“My track speed and skill is really good compared to a lot of people but my starts aren’t great so I’ve got to put a lot of time into them.”