The 2017 Sterling NT BMXNT Titles are in full swing, and following days of practice at the mighty Spanlift Stadium, home to Satellite City BMX Club, riders will be ready to roll in their pursuit of that coveted state plate over the coming days.
With 32 classes of racing on offer for both male, and female riders, there will be plenty of action for riders of all ages and abilities.
However unbeknown to many is that in the history of Australian BMX, the Northern Territory has become something of a proving ground for riders who have gone on to achieve bigger things. One of them was BMXA Academy coach Luke Madill, who won his first Aussie title in 1988 at the Red Centre BMX Club at the age of seven.
Eventually he rode at the Olympic Games.
That year, when Madill got his first Aussie plate, the event will be remembered not just for the racing, but the flooding rains that closed roads around the track and played havoc with racing. Those in attendance will recall the use of a helicopter in an effort to dry out the track!
Also at that event was another developing rider, a young man named Jesse Carlsson. Like Madill, Carlsson won his first Aussie plate in the NT, his coming in the 10-year’s competition. He went on to win another two titles, in the sub-junior cruiser class in 1989 at the Southlake club in NSW, and then in the 16-year’s event at the 1994 titles in Launceston, Tasmania.
In 1989 Carlsson also won the world title for the 11-years boys at the IBMXF World Championships, held in Brisbane at a specially built track within the Chandler Velodrome.
Carlsson may no longer ride BMX, but his cycling career was kick started on one in the NT, and since then he has gone on lengthier endeavours.
After starting life on the BMX at age five, Carlsson picked up top results before discovering endurance cycling in the 2000’s. That transition saw him change from events that took 40 seconds to those that consumed up to 400 hours.
In between is cycling pursuits Carlsson completed a PHD in Theoretical Physics, became a private equity investor, a director of Curve Cycling and an endurance cycling character. In 2015, he won the Trans Am Bike Race – a self-supported road race that takes competitors on the 4300-mile journey from the west to east coast of the USA, covering 10 states.
It took him 18 days, 23 hours and 8 minutes.
Not content with competing in endurance cycling, he is the founder of the Indian Pacific Wheel Race (touted as ‘The Hunger Games on Wheels) that takes cyclists on a trek from Fremantle, WA to Sydney, NSW. The inaugural event was run this year, and in recent days it has been confirmed that the second event will take place in 2018.
Talk about an over-achiever.
With the NT titles upon is, it was rather fitting that Carlsson recently competed in the 2017 ‘Race to the Rock’, a 3000km off-road event from Albany in WA, to Uluru, NT. Even more fitting was that the event finished in the red centre, the scene of his first major success on a bike.
With riders of all ages taking part in the NT titles this week, there is little doubt that among them is a star in waiting.
Whether they are lifelong BMX riders like Madill, or find a new path like Carlsson, they all share the common love of getting on their bike and riding. And lucky for them, the NT has proven itself before as a place that can unearth the beginning of a successful career.
*BMX statistics sourced from the Australian BMX Museum – www.australianbmxmuseum.com