It’s with enormous pleasure that we feature Ben Cornish in our blog this week.
Ben and his Dad Adam create the lovely organic wooden bread boards, made from rippled Ash that you can find on our web site.
Together they source the wood from the edge of Dartmoor and hand craft these lovely, chunky, rustic bread boards to help fund Ben’s BMX racing.
Each bread board is a unique, individual piece since the grain and wood vary; you can choose between a natural shaped edge or a straight edge. I love holding them in my hands and wondering about the history of each tree. Wood is a wonderful material for bread boards since it’s so decorative and from a practical perspective it doesn’t blunt knives and is self-healing. If you occasionally wipe it over with a flavourless oil, to keep the wood supple, it can last a lifetime.
Ben is a self-funding athlete and so uses funds generated by this and other activity to help pay for his successful BMX racing career. Truly talented and extremely committed he has been super successful. With his eyes set on the future he’s finding innovative ways to fund the training, kit and travelling that is involved in BMX racing.
We caught up with Ben’s Dad Adam to find out more about Ben’s progress.
How long has Ben been interested in BMX racing, what was the process that he went through to start winning?
This is Ben’s fifth season racing BMX across the South West and his fourth racing nationally. For the last two seasons Bens been riding against boys two years his senior in the South West and won the 16’s age group in 2021. This year he also became the 14’s National Champion after winning the British Cycling National Series.
Does he do any special training?
For the last three years Ben has been on British Cycling’s Talent Development Program which is where they select those with the potential to be Olympians. In 2021, Ben was selected for the highest tier of the program - The National School of Racing, which is held at the indoor BMX arena at British Cycling HQ - Manchester. Once a month Ben spends the weekend at Manchester training with the GB team riders including Beth Shriver and Kye Whyte who won Olympic Gold and Silver respectively at Tokyo. Ben trains for about 15hrs per week with track, weights, and sprint sessions. His school even support him doing one of his PE lessons in the local gym.
How many weekends a year do you tend to be away from home with Ben at events and where do you go?
Ben is racing or training away from home 30 weekends a year. In 2022, Ben will travel over 17,000 miles in the car right across the UK and through the channel tunnel to Europe and fly to race in Italy and Latvia. We have a race support vehicle, which is converted panel van which we live while we are away!
What are Ben’s plans for BMX riding, he’s obviously keen to go to the 2022 European and World Championships?
To reach his goal of riding in the Los Angeles Olympics, Ben needs to prove that he is competitive in international races. To do this he will be riding the European Cup race series in Verona in Italy, Zolder & Ravels in Belgium, Papendal, Holland, Valmiera, Latvia and Stuttgart in Germany. He has also qualified to race for Great Britain in the European Championships in Dessel, Belgium and World Championships in Nantes in France. This is on top of ten races in British Cycling’s National Series in Scotland, Kent, London, Birmingham & Bournemouth and as many regional races across the South West as he can fit in.
What would you say are the core skills needed to become good at BMX riding?
Olympic race BMX is a sprint event where eight riders start on an eight metre high hill then race over a technical course of jumps, tight corners and rhythmic straight of small jumps to a sprint finish. It is a contact sport where riders physically compete for the best race lines. A lap is completed in under forty seconds, there are three heats/moto’s and usually two knock out rounds before the top eight race the final.
It is classed as an extreme sport and requires incredible bike skills, power and strength combined with split-second decision-making skills and nerves of steel. Because of the excitement and skill displayed it was the most watched Olympic Sport at Tokyo. It is also the cycling event which started Sir Chris Hoy’s cycling career.
How do you think that Ben benefits from being involved in the BMX world?
Ben has always been physically capable and happy to help smaller children with sport skills. He was painfully shy and lacked confidence. He is now a role model within the sport and happy to talk to anyone. He regularly gets the opportunity to meet, talk and train with Olympians. The sport requires focus, analysis of your own races and others. You can’t always win but must come back from frequent crashes which really develops good resilience. He frequently needs to replace broken parts on his bike. He makes the money to do this by splitting donated rings of timber into logs, they’re allowed to dry and then he sells them for logs. Over the past 2 years he’s raised almost £1000. Working hard to help himself.
What piece of advice would you give to someone else whose son or daughter might be interested in BMX racing?
Although Ben aspires to make a career of it - it’s just kids riding bikes! Have fun! Keep working on your skills as you’ll have them for the rest of your cycling life.
Thought for the day for Mums & Dads!
Chatting with your mates on the side of the track is just as important as practising. While adults call it, strategising, analysis and planning - kids do it all without thinking just sitting on their bikes, in the fresh air catching up with mates and hopefully making friends for life!
Thanks Adam – that’s a wonderful insight into Ben’s hopes and plans for the next year and we wish him all the best in his career.
For further info here is a short film made a couple of years ago by Cameron Smith click this link.
So, there you have it, a product with a purpose. Every Bread Board sold goes to help fund Ben’s BMX training and travelling to help him become the best he can be.
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