Leslie led the way for Nanaimo BMX riders at World Championships

By Dan Marshall
August 9, 2017 - 11:32pm Updated: August 10, 2017 - 10:02am

Ben Leslie (facebook)

NANAIMO — The local BMX scene is thriving with 11 competitors making it to the recent World Championships in South Carolina.
Nanaimo riders as young as seven and as old as 65 were a part of that event the final week of July.
At the top of that list is 17-year-old Ben Leslie. 
Currently he's sitting sixth in the Canada Cup rankings and will be one to watch at the final national championship race at the end of August in Calgary.
He had a great run through qualifying in the Junior Men's division at the world's but unfortunately missed out on a spot in the final.
"I had a crash in the semi final. I was running well all day and then ended up hooking up with somebody and crashing, it's pretty unfortunate but it happens." said Leslie.
Despite the crash Leslie says his world ranking is still 19th.
He's been riding BMX since he was three or four years old and says the quality of the Nanaimo track helped him develop his skills over the years.
It may be the quality of the track or the influence of a local legend like 2013 World Cup Champion Steve Smith that has led so many riders to the sport.
Mike Smith with Nanaimo BMX was thrilled to see the 11 athletes make it to the world's.
Emily Bell (11), Haiden Botrokoff (14), and Hunter McGill (22) each made it to the quarter final stage, and Smith says the entire Nanaimo contingent is already back to work in the hope of competing on the world stage again next year.
This week is significant for riders all over the city with the opening of the Stevie Smith Community Bike Park.
The new facility at Beban Park will be a spot for competitive and recreational bikers to enjoy for years to come.
[email protected]
On twitter: @danmarshall77   

Training camp sessions underway for BCMML Silvertips