Published: 23 July 2013
Report: Scott Hobro
Video: Simon Powers
Nineteen-year-old Kyle Evans doesn’t expect nerves to be a problem when he makes his first elite appearance at a UCI BMX World Championships in New Zealand.
Evans is one of just two Great Britain athletes who will compete in the senior events in Auckland on 27-28 July.
He is joined by Olympian Liam Phillips after three-time world champion Shanaze Reade withdrew from the squad with a knee injury.
For British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme rider Evans, who was a reserve for Phillips at the London Olympics, it is a first world championships in the elite category having missed last year’s event in Birmingham with a shoulder injury.
And Evans, who competed in the junior men's competition in the 2011, is confident he won’t be overawed by the occasion in the Vector Arena come Saturday.
“I’m not normally too bad of a nervous person,” Evans, from Wigan, said.
“I can kind of control my nerves at races, I’m kind of good at keeping myself to myself. I’m pretty confident, all my training has gone well. I’m focusing on my own targets and going out there and doing my best and the outcome is the outcome. As long as I know I’ve put my best in then I’m happy with it.
“I know I’m ready for the race. I can’t wait to get out there.”
Two appearances in the 2013 UCI BMX Supercross series - at Great Britain’s training base in Manchester and in Papendal - exposed Evans to elite racing featuring Australian world champion Sam Willoughby and world time trial champion Connor Fields of the USA.
After qualifying in sixth from the time trial in Manchester he went on to the quarter-finals where he exited, a source of consternation for Evans.
But he returned to the series in June in the Netherlands and delivered a career best result in reaching the semi-finals, a performance which he largely credits with his selection for the worlds.
“The lead up to the Manchester and Papendal world cups, the two that I went to, I was happy with how it all went,” Evans said.
“In Manchester I would have liked to have done a little bit better, I wanted to go to the semi-finals at least and it didn’t quite happen.
“I came back and we analysed it and reviewed it and I knew what we needed to work on. I really liked the track in Papendal. It’s a bigger track, more open, and my kind of style.
“I got out there, was looking forward to it, practice went well and I put a good performance in and I guess that all helped me towards, as well as my training, getting selected for the worlds.”
Auckland’s Vector Arena has been transformed in to an indoor BMX track with the narrow, tight course at odds with the large open track Evans prefers to race on.
But in the National Indoor BMX Centre, where Evans trains with his Great Britain teammates, the youngster can practice on a course which bears a familiarity to the conditions he will be confronted with in the southern hemisphere and he anticipates no issues with acclimatising to a new venue.
“I’m pretty good at adapting to tracks and I normally feel quite comfortable after a couple of laps around the track,” Evans said.
“Everyone has the same amount of practice and everyone’s got to deal with it. I know what I’ll do before I get onto the track and we train in Manchester on the indoor track all the time, that’s a tight track. It’s not like it‘s a weak point of mine, I train on an indoor track anyway.
“I seem to be able to adapt to big open tracks like Papendal and also ride Manchester pretty well too. I’m sure I’ll be perfectly fine when I get out there.”
Evans also revealed he will call on the experience of Liam Phillips if needed. A two-time Olympian, most recently in London, Phillips took world time trial silver in Birmingham and Evans is happy to have the 24-year-old on hand.
“Liam’s a good person to have at the event if I need to talk,” Evans said.
“We’ve talked before at Manchester world cup and in training. Liam’s good as he helps us out and he’s there for advice if I need him and I’m sure when we are out there he will help me if I need it.”