Brock Tuckerman after 3 years of football had developed a knee problem. In 1997 at the age of 12, he started BMX. A friend mentioned the BMX racing and that he was going to give it a try. It was not long before Brock was hooked.
The Bendigo club was one of the biggest in Australia. BMX racing was very popular, the club was well organised, race meets at a club level 100+ riders and OPEN meetings 250+ riders from across the State would attend.
BMX has two basic class groups, Challenge and Elite. Challenge for younger riders up to 17 and from that age anyone that doesn’t feel they are at a professional level can simply ride in their age bracket (eg, 17-24 men or women, 30-34 men or women etc.) The elite class is made up of two categories, JNR ELITE (17-18yrs) and ELITE (19+).
Like most other sports BMX has club, state, national, world and now Olympic level. Brock reached National level in both challenge and Elite classes, with 10th in Australia in the 15 boy’s age class.
He had top 3 places at various other race meetings in the PRO class, his best winning the junior elite class at the 2005 BMXPress Grand Nationals held at Knox BMX track in Melbourne, an event which was televised on FOX SPORTS. In March 2008 Brock faced the decision of retirement after shattering his elbow competing at the ACT titles in Canberra.
In almost 12 years of competing Brock suffered numerous broken bones including elbows, wrists and ankle. A broken arm wasn’t much help to his three young children. Family came first and Brock sold the bike and gear with the aim to recover.
After only 7 months off the bike he was lured back into the sport as the 2009 World championships were to be held in Adelaide South Australia in July. Other than Olympic glory, they represent the pinnacle of the sport. In September 2008 riding resumed but this time took a very different approach, taking time and making sure he would stay on.
To get to the World this required qualifying at State and National competition. First target was the Victorian state titles in Nov 2008 in 19+ challenge men which Brock took top honours. Next he will be competing at the National championships in Perth at the end of April 2009, to qualify for the world championships and will need to finish in the top 32 of his class. Another motivating factor was renewing the great friendships formed over more than 12 years of competition.
Brock reflects that the main changes have by far been the tracks themselves, with a lot more jumps some being as big as 35-40 ft long. There are also rhythm sections which can have up to 10-12 jumps of different shapes all in one straight.
Full face helmets are compulsory, clip in pedals are now on most riders’ bikes over the age of 7, neck braces are also becoming common – with the track getting much bigger, the risk are increasing.
Having entered the PRO class, he found the level of the sport and riders greatly improved. Like other sports at a PRO level, BMX has full-time athletes who live and breathe BMX.
BMX Racing is a very disciplined sport and as a result acceptance BMX racing has gained a lot of momentum and new members. Since the 2008 Olympics the Bendigo BMX club alone has more than doubled its members base. It caters for children as young as three, through to members over 50, and both male and female.
Brock’s advice is simple to new comers: find a track in your local area. Bike shops are usually a good place to give assistance. Seek out information about the club and practice times, ask riders who are at the track for advice. When you start riding, just because everyone is jumping the table top at the track, doesn’t mean you have to. While at practise nights the club members can provide you with information on licensing and protective gear, but most of all HAVE FUN.
See you on the track soon God willing