Cruising along

Junction's Reid Austin wins national BMX cruiser title

Grand Junction 11-year-old Reid Austin gets some air on a jump during the USA BMX Grand Nationals in Tulsa, Okla., over the weekend. Austin was the defending champ in the 10-year-old cruiser class and won the 11-year-old cruiser class title. But the big prize for Austin was winning the overall cruiser national title. Photo Special to the Sentinel/Jason McGuire

Grand Junction 11-year-old Reid Austin holds up the trophy after winning the 11-year-old cruiser class title over the weekend at the USA BMX Grand Nationals in Tulsa, Okla. Photo Special to the Sentinel.Jason McGuire

Others were gunning to catch Reid Austin from the start.

They never did.

Austin, 11, of Grand Junction, not only defended his BMX national age group cruiser class title this season, he won the cruiser title for all ages last weekend at the USA BMX Grand Nationals in Tulsa, Okla.

“It was really cool,” ‘Light Speed’ Reid Austin said. “My dad was happy I won my (age class) race, but he didn’t expect to win the whole thing. He didn’t want me to get my hopes up.”

The reigning national age group champion in the 10-year-old cruiser class entered the finale leading his 11-year-old age group, but was sitting in ninth for the overall title.

The cruiser class is a 24-inch bike. Classes start at 8-and-under and go to 61-and-older.

Austin, who also plays lacrosse and is a student at Bookcliff Christian School, took over the points lead with a win in the 11-year-old cruiser class. Then he waited out the age 
41-45 finale, with four riders in the main event in contention for the overall title.

Two crashed and a non-contender took the lead and the age division title, giving Austin the overall cruiser national title.

“They said I took the lead (after his age group race),” Austin said. “My dad still didn’t believe I would do it after that. I was amazed.”

Reid received the Silver Cup trophy and a home sound system courtesy of JBL.

“It was kind of surreal,” his mother, Lori Austin, said. “It didn’t really hit him until they called him up on the stage and handed him this massive cup. It was pretty cool. We didn’t even know he was in the running for it.”

Reid Austin’s accomplishments are mind-blowing for the boy, especially considering the amount of competition.

“It’s really cool just to see that I am the best,” he said. “We had 75 riders in my (age) class at nationals. It’s really cool to get first.

“There’s a lot more people and more motos (races). It’s insane how many motos there are at nationals.”

At local races at the Grand Junction BMX track, there are usually 20 motos. Reid and his mother figured there were 678 motos at nationals.

The age group trophy stands 6 feet high, a full foot taller than Austin.

“I’m going to set it next to my other one,” Austin said.

Austin started BMX racing at age 6 and has won either a state championship race or season points title each year.

He and a neighborhood friend built a small track out of his dad’s dirt bike track in the backyard on his parents’ ranch, including a couple of jumps off the corners of the old dirt bike track.

They eventually found their way to the BMX track.

“My friend got an invitation at school,” Austin said of getting into BMX racing. “I have a little track at my house with little jumps.

“We wanted to try it, so we went there and had fun.”

Austin hopes to qualify for the World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, in July 2013, and has had a dream ever since he saw BMX racing in the 2008 Olympics. Some Olympic medalists were at nationals last weekend.

“I really want to go to the Olympics,” Austin said.

Other Grand Valley BMX riders placed at nationals.

Bill Welfelt won the age 61-older cruiser national title. Colby Piper took third in the 3-year-old strider class. Morgan Zimmerman placed fifth in the age 9-10 mixed open class and Emory Blee was sixth in the age 36-40 intermediate class.


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