At last weekend’s BMX Australia annual general meeting the organisation’s board endorsed the nomination of Lyndon Downing for life membership.
Downing was recognised for more than two decades of service to the sport – both in Australia and overseas – by being named just the 14th life member of BMX Australia.
The quietly spoken event management expert was totally shocked by the nomination and subsequent elevation to the BMXA’s highest honour.
“It was a bit of a surprise, I had no idea really,” Downing said.
“You never think about those sort of things and suddenly they pop up and you think ‘hey I’ve been doing this for 20 plus years’.
“When you’re in an organisation that thrives on volunteers – and is totally dependent on volunteers – it’s almost embarrassing.
“On the other hand, it’s always nice when your efforts are acknowledged. It’s nice but it’s humbling – you know how much effort so many people have put in to make the sport a success.”
FIND OUT WHO THE LIFE MEMBERS OF BMX AUSTRALIA ARE HERE
A long-time member at Park Orchards BMX Club in Victoria, Downing’s journey in BMX began like many before him – through his kids’ interest in the sport.
As a parent driving past their local club his son and daughter pestered him to go for a look and the rest, as they say in the classics, is history.
After his children joined as young riders, Lyndon began volunteering to help and progressed through the club committee, then zone and onto a state event management committee before filling roles both nationally and internationally.
More than a decade after his children left sport Downing is still heavily involved, mainly through his creation and development of the BEM (BMX Event Manager) program.
Downing had become involved in scoring and event management at various levels and was able to use skills learnt with computer programming in his day to day job and apply them to the sport of BMX.
“My real claim to fame is the BEM program,” Downing said with a hint of pride and equal doses of humility.
“The program’s first major event was in 1998 and the 2003 Continental Championships in Perth, prior to the World Championships, was a highlight with what the new program allowed us to do.
“The program is now being used in almost 30 countries.”
The veteran administrator said it was the friendships he had developed from the sport that were the most important to him.
“From a personal perspective, the relationships I have developed with people in Australia and around the world have been great,” he said.
“You wouldn’t do it if you didn’t enjoy it and didn’t have the support of the people doing it alongside you.”
While Downing has begun what he calls ‘a transition to retirement’, the first step of which was standing down from the BMXA technical committee, he won’t be lost to the BMXA family.
“You’ll still see me around the track. I haven’t crawled in a hole never to be seen again.”
So next time you see Lyndon at a BMX event, make the effort to say hello and pass on your thanks. He deserves it!