Published: 17 April 2013
Report: Scott Hobro
Video: Eddie Allen/Simon Powers
British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme athlete Curtis Manaton believes a home crowd can lift Great Britain’s riders to triumph at the UCI BMX Supercross in Manchester.
Manaton was named in a nine person squad by British Cycling which will take to the start ramp at the National BMX Arena for the two-day competition starting on 19 April.
The 19-year-old has already experienced a home atmosphere at the London instalment of the series in 2011, which acted as the Olympic test event.
“It’s going to be a massive help to have the home crowd cheering you on, it’s only a benefit,” Manaton said.
“It gives you a massive adrenaline buzz. When you’re on the gate everyone is shouting your name, it makes you want to prove a point and do your country proud.”
Beginning his second year as an elite level rider, Manaton is steadily adjusting to the requirements of world-class racing and in December 2012, took second at the Trophy of Nations at the St Etienne Indoor meeting in France.
One of six athletes on British Cycling’s BMX Academy, which was reformed in 2011, Manaton has been buoyed with the advancements he and his colleagues have made and is staunch in his belief that there is more to come from the pool of riders.
“2013 was my first year in elite so it was pretty tough but now it’s come round to the second year I’ve got a lot stronger and a lot faster, it’s going to be an exciting year,” Manaton enthused.
“All of us are reaching to that age where we are starting to develop in all aspects and starting to show ourselves in the top level, I’m really excited.”
Manchester will be Manaton’s third UCI BMX Supercross appearance, after London he was handed a further opportunity at Abbotsford, Canada last September, finishing 27th.
It was preceded by a world championships debut in Birmingham and with spots limited for this year’s competition in Auckland, New Zealand, Manaton recognises the importance this weekend’s racing could have on any potential selection.
“I did one supercross when I was a first year elite, the [London] test event and that was just to get a feel for it,” Manaton explained. “But now I’ve done a few like the worlds, I went to Canada, you kind of get used to it and it’s a lot more exciting than normal racing.
“For the worlds positions, in England we are producing good talent especially with the Academy boys. There are already five boys competing here together [in the Academy] so we are all around the same level at the minute.
“It’s tight but if I can do the best early on and get some results early on this season it is going to help for selection for the world championships.”