Speed Reid-er: GJ’s Reid Austin tastes success at BMX Grand Nationals
Reid Austin loves to ride his bike.
He doesn’t just take a leisurely trip through the neighborhood, but an intense ride on a dirt BMX track against seven other competitors.
Austin is only nine years old, but recently brought some impressive hardware back from the BMX Grand Nationals in Tulsa, Okla.
Austin finished first in the Race of Champions in late November and finished third in the 9-year old Cruiser Division of the Grand Nationals.
The Cruiser Division is the equivalent to an expert level.
“He’s worked really hard to get to this point,” said Mark Austin, Reid’s father. “But it’s been a learning process.”
Like many of the young BMX racers in Grand Junction, Austin’s interest was sparked when the local BMX track, Grand Valley BMX, began advertising in schools.
“About three years ago he had a buddy that got a flier from school,” Mark Austin said. “He latched onto it.”
Reid took to the sport and began to learn some of the intricacies to become a good rider.
“The first time they get out there, all they want to do is jump,” Mark Austin said. “But with BMX it’s not all about jumping, it’s about getting through an obstacle as quickly as possible and sometimes jumping isn’t the best thing to do.”
Reid went to the Grand Nationals for the first time two years ago. He was racing well, and had advanced to the point where he needed to finish in the top four to move on.
That’s when he learned about the bad breaks that sometimes happen in athletics.
“He was sitting third and right before the finish line someone crashed right in front of him,” Mark Austin said. “The wreck took him and another kid out and that ended it for the season.”
The crash confirmed a lesson that Mark had taught Reid.
“My dad told me if you crash, you have to get back up,” Reid said.
Reid responded from the crash and has improved every race. This year in Tulsa, Reid qualified for the Race of Champions by being a state champion from Colorado. He won the Colorado 9-year-old Cruiser Division on Sept. 1.
In the Race of Champions, it took five heats for Reid to get to the finals and win.
“It was tough,” Reid said. “It was all the best racers in America and some are really good.”
Reid made the final eight the next day during the Grand Nationals, but drew the toughest gate for the final race. Austin began in the eighth gate, which is the farthest away from the first turn.
“It’s really hard to make it all the way over,” Mark Austin said.
Four other Grand Valley BMX racers placed at the Grand Nationals. Morgan Zimmerman finished eighth in the 8-year-old girls Race of Champions.
In the Grand National races, Jason Miles finished eighth in the 31-35 Cruiser, Don Somers finished eighth in the 56-over Cruiser and Fallon Ward finished sixth in the 13-year-old Novice division.
“Got Speed Reid” Austin has a bright future in BMX and just loves to race.
“He’s fun to watch out there,” Mark Austin said. “He loves to ride his bike.”