Queensland’s multiple national champion and world title contender Buddha Baum is not your average teenager when it comes to what he does in the summer holidays.
At 15-years of age, many teenagers would sit on the couch during their holidays enjoying their time away from the books. But for Buddha Baum, the six week break was spent in Ethiopia with his family. The Beenleigh BMX rider had no phone, no bike and a complete detox from the world wide web.
It’s a time for Baum to reflect on who he is. He has the opportunity to think about what he wants from BMX and what he wants from school… no distractions.
“It’s a pretty cool thing. I get off all social media, I fish a lot in a large river and just walk around the jungle. I spend most of my time just cooking food and spending time with my family there,” Baum explained.
“My mum’s side is Ethiopian and everyone over there is pretty much your cousin. Somehow you are related to everyone you meet and it’s a really strong community.
“I get away from everything, wind down and relax before coming back to BMX in 2019.”
“When I was coming back to Australia, I started to miss BMX and social media. But as soon as I landed, I just got blasted with it.”
One of his first events back on the bike was the sixth round of the Oxley Cycles Shootout Series at the Sleeman supercross track last weekend (April 6-7).
Finishing second in the 16-boy’s final, Baum is excited to be back on the bike and is eagerly awaiting his next event, which will be this weekend at the Ipswich West Moreton BMX Club for the third stage of the 2019 BMXA BAD BOY National Series.
“I don’t think I’ll be peaking for Ipswich as I’m still returning,” Baum continued.
“But I’ll be using it to build up my confidence and form while the nationals at Shepparton draws closer. It’s just to see where I’m at.”
Missing the first two stages of the 2019 national series, Baum is lining up on the gate against one of the most competitive classes this year. The 16-boy’s competitors will be continuing their battle and Baum is looking forward to joining them on and off the track.
“Off the track, we are all really good mates. We all look forward to these races because we all live around the country,” Baum said.
“But when we are getting ready to race, they’re your worst enemy. You don’t say anything nasty, but you just go for it. We always shake hands after the race and say good job to each other, even if someone crashes you help them back up. We mean business on track but we are all just really good mates.”
With multiple national titles to his name, Baum is a hot favourite whenever he touches the track. For 2019, his goals are taking him internationally.
“I just want a repeat of last year. Take out the win in the Aussies and just race more open days. I want to get some consistent results in the superclass and win at the Queensland championships. But I really want to find the podium in Belgium for the world championships. I really want that #W1 plate,” Baum said.
The teenager is now well and truly focused on the racing this coming weekend at Ipswich (April 13-14) where over 550 riders from around Australia will be beginning, or continuing, their national series run with valuable points on offer.
Baum has competed at the Ipswich track multiple times and is a big fan of the strip, celebrating its speed and smooth flow. Many athletes have many rituals when they prepare to compete. Baum is no different.
“I say a little prayer before each final when I’m going up to staging. I take deep breaths and I don’t talk to anyone. I just completely zone out and visualise what I want to be and what I want to do,” Baum said.