After touring the USA, Kye Affoo returns home confident ahead of the Australian BMX season, and buoyed by his success in the land of the free and home of the brave.
BMX Australia love our riders developing their skills anywhere in the world, and Pine Rivers Junior Elite rider Kye Affoo is one of those riders who has been riding abroad for the Yess BMX USA Team.
Last year was a big year of change for Affoo, as he made the significant step from Challenge class riding into the Championship ranks, racing in the Junior Elite men’s class. In 2016 he claimed the #W7 plate, but a fifth place finish at the 2017 Aussie titles left him out of the fold when it came to selection for the junior elite team to race at worlds in Rock Hill.
Disappointed, Affoo dusted himself off and made his way to the USA regardless, taking up a place on the Yess BMX USA Team and setting his sights on the American National Series.
“It’s a totally different style of racing over there (the USA), Kye’s father Shaune Affoo stated.
“The level of competition on a weekly basis forces you to improve and step up as a rider.”
Shaune Affoo explored the idea that each race in the US was very similar to the national series we had in Australia over the past couple of years, where rounds where held back-to-back across a weekend. On Kye’s first experience of BMX in the US, he raced in five events over the period of two weeks and ended up with a sponsor straight out of the gate.
Racing in the US has fast become a very common theme for aspiring elite BMX riders all over the world, and many go for the same reason that Kye departed Aussie shores for. Frequency of racing and volume of riders is simply a tantalising prospect for riders.
“We told him if he wants to make a career out of BMX riding, then America is the place to go,” explained Affoo.
In 2017, Kye had an incredible tour with his team racing in 11 National rounds including seven wins, two seconds and a third placing.
One of his most impressive performances coming at the 2017 Lumberjack Nationals in Spokane, Washington where he went head-to-head in an explosive display with USA JR. devo ace Kamren Larsen. The two duked it out at the front, but unfortunately for Affoo it was Larsen who claimed the win.
After a torrent of success, Kye went into Grands sitting third overall on points. This qualified him for the prestigious NAG 5 challenge, which was on November 25. He placed fifth in the semi-finals, and then incredibly backed up for the Grands the next day also coming away with a fifth place.
To cap it off, Affoo finished the year ranked 40th in the male rankings that identify the number one amateur ride. Last year there were 7,027 male riders chasing the top ranking, highlighting the brilliance of Affoo’s achievements.
He has also just signed to ride for Factory Full Tilt Bike Company in the USA which is based in Minnesota.
With this recent success to his name in other lands, Kye has now turned his attention to competing at home with the hope of qualifying for Australia’s Junior Elite worlds team.
“We can’t wait for the qualifying stage, the experience and confidence Kye gained in the US will be a massive boost for these events,” Shaune Affoo beamed.
In 2018, the BMX Australia National Series was designed to give Aussie riders a better chance, more regularly to race top-level competition. As a part of BMXA’s intention to foster development and provide opportunities for riders on home soil, three rounds of the 2018 National Series as well as the 2018 UCI Oceania Continental Championships, and 2018 BMXA National Championships were awarded UCI sanctioning.
For Junior Elite riders wishing to qualify for the 2018 UCI BMX World Championships team, without having to travel overseas to race, they will need to claim victory in two domestic events at either rounds one or two of the National Series, or claim position one at the Oceania or Aussie titles to be automatically eligible for consideration
It’s a tough task that has been set by Cycling Australia, but one Affoo will no doubt be relishing as he eyes off retribution after missing out on last year’s team.
Go hard son, there’s plenty of talent on Australian soil and it will be a titanic battle to come out on top.