Burnaby’s own Leonardo Leavy is the No. 1 boys BMX racer in Canada, and he’s taken his racing skills to the BMX World Championships in France — landing in the top 32 out of 120 other 10-year-old boys.
Leonardo, who goes by Leo, raced with heart and excitement.
He came in second for his first three races and made it to the quarterfinals where his podium run ended.
World championship excitement
Before his trip to the competition, Leo spoke to the NOW about his experience as a BMX racer and excitement for the championships.
“I’m pretty stoked,” he told the NOW.
“I was pretty excited, definitely nervous, because it’s a lot of riders.”
Leo qualified for the competition in 2020 and 2021, but both times couldn’t attend due to the pandemic.
Leo said his favourite part of the sport is the teamwork mixed with competition.
“It’s such a fun sport; you can hang out with your friends and you’re on a team, but … you can also race them.”
When asked his favourite part of BMX racing, his answer is clear: “Probably winning.”
But he and his mom took care to mention he doesn’t win every race.
When he doesn’t win, he said he congratulates his competitors, tries again and trains harder.
He’ll take a relaxing vacation off now, before heading back to work for Scotland in 2023.
Six years of BMX racing
The 10-year-old, who is going into Grade 5 at Buckingham Elementary in September, has been racing since he was four. The interest in BMX racing started after he saw a race on the North Shore.
He practices at the Burnaby Mountain Skills Park and at other BMX parks in the Lower Mainland, and represents his team Alpha Factory.
He trains under coaches Ryan Tougas, who was on the Canadian Next-Gen national team and is training for the Olympics, and former B.C. Lions football player Casey Chin.
He said his success so far feels like an accomplishment, but he knows it doesn’t come easily.
“It feels like you definitely have to work for it because the other competitors are just right behind you,” he said.
At the end of a race, with the finish line in sight, Leo said he gets a feeling of satisfaction and excitement.
“I just get that push to get over the line,” he said. And when he’s over the line?
“Yeah, it’s like I’m done my race, and I can just chill now,” he said, laughing.
More than 30 riders represented Canada in France for the championships. Leo was the only rider from Burnaby.
“We would love to see a lot more Burnaby kids out there on BMX bikes and representing our amazing city,” said Leo’s mom Paola Leavy.
The two note that BMX racing is an Olympic sport.
The 2022 UCI BMX World Championships was held July 26 to 31 in Nantes, France.