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Online News | 12 year old takes on the world!

Hayley Linton
Riley Smart at Hamilton Nationals 2022  Supplied by Mel Smart

At age 12, Riley Smart has cycled his way to the top making World Championships.

Representing New Zealand, the young BMX superstar will compete this August in Scotland.

This is a cycle sport that is competed on BMX bikes, either in competitive racing or freestyle. It is a family-friendly and participant-driven sport where riders range in age from two to 70.

Riley has been part of the North Canterbury BMX Club for nearly five years where he has continued to excel in the sport.

The goal of BMX racing is simple: cross the finish line first. To win a gold medal, however, requires eight riders to navigate a challenging track with numerous sharp turns, enormous bumps, and even bigger jumps.

Riley Smart racing in the Dunedin final for the South Island title - 2023 Supplied by Mel Smart

Riley says he enjoys racing because it's fun and it feels really good to make world championships. He is excited about going to a new place and to race at the competition.

His parents Mel and Mike Smart are both extremely proud of him, doing whatever they can to support him and his achievements. 

With his dad being the former president of the club and currently track manager, Mike plays a huge role in Riley’s BMXing by making sure the track is up to scratch, and race-worthy.

Mel said that Riley was at the track at least three times a week, whether that be practising or racing. 

Young Riley lives a busy life as he just returned from winning his second national title in Tauranga, to heading off next week to compete at the 2023 Oceania BMX Championships in Rotorua. 

Riley Smart winning his second National title - 2023 Supplied by Mel Smart

As winter approaches and the season finishes Mel is concerned how Riley will continue to train in preparation for the Worlds.


“It's going to be really challenging to keep up his fitness through the winter”

She said riders were not supposed to ride the tracks when wet, leaving Riley limited areas to train when the wet weather arrives compared to the North Island, where they usually have the ability to train all year round. 

In order to maintain his fitness levels, sprint work and the gym will be on the agenda. Riley has also excelled in other sports like golf and basketball, even in rugby he managed to get forward of the year while playing a year above his age.

Mel said she doesn't know where his determination comes from. 

The North Canterbury BMX Club president Liam Goodwin said this was an awesome achievement and a great representation for the club, where they are all extremely proud. 

Liam said Riley had been dominating the local races over the last couple of years and it was good to see him strive even further. He’s excited to see what he can do against the world's best.

“I could see him definitely reaching the podium, which would be top three”

Liam believes if he continues with his training, he could progress really far with the sport. As an elite BMXer himself, Liam understands the step up from Nationals to Worlds but is certain Riley has the skills to take that on. 

Riley Smart racing at Nationals - 2022 Supplied by Mel Smart