From the moment Flynn Sweeney first jumped on a BMX the sparks started flying.
From childhood into adolescence, his life has raced by in a blur of thrills and spills, some more serious than others, that no doubt caused his family members’ heart rates to pump in synch with his ferocious assault on the pedals.
“I’ve wanted to turn pro for as long as I can remember,” he said.
“I started BMX when I was six and I’ve loved it ever since, and the crashes, they’re just part of the fun of it.’’
The Gold Coast speed fiend achieved that lifelong goal when, with proud dad Kevin watching from the stands, he made the step-up against world class opposition in New Zealand in February.
The North Island’s geothermal wonderland of Rotorua was a fitting venue for Sweeny to explode onto the scene in the first two rounds of the UCI (Union Cycliste International) BMX Supercross World Cup which draws the very best Under 23 riders from around the world.
He finished outside the top ten in New Zealand but bounced back with a 6th place finish on his home track in the Oceania Championships at the Brisbane SX International BMX Centre.
“This is my first year on the pro circuit and these events are definitely the biggest I’ve competed in so far,” he said.
A training accident ruled him out of rounds three and four of the World Cup, also at the Sleeman Centre but he will get back on the bike in the first week of March to begin preparations for the final rounds of the series in Tulsa, Oklahoma in April.
The former All Saints College student was the national champion in Under 16s and was still in the top five in Oceania in Under 17s, despite a broken scaphoid and then rotator cuff injuries limiting his racing.
Now he’s fit and back in the saddle, the 18-year-old’s immediate goal for this year is to qualify for the Australian team to take part in the World Championships at Rock Hill in South Carolina in May.
But the longer-term plan for his racing is to spend the two years of his Bachelor of Commerce degree at Bond University building his international reputation after injury wiped out the final seasons of his junior career.
The hope is that it leads to greater sponsorship opportunities and the chance to race full time upon graduation.
A measured approach might seem to be at odds with the typical profile of an aspiring rider who spends the best part of their day at over 60km/h, however that is exactly what the 2024 ADCO Sports Excellence Scholarship recipient has in mind.
“This is about getting noticed. The last two years I haven’t done a lot of racing because of injuries and I missed the chance to build a world ranking,” he said.
“I am really fortunate to have received the ADCO Sports Excellence Scholarship and with the Bond Elite Sport Program there is flexibility with exams and all that sort of stuff, so it’s a good fit for me.
“My plan is to study full time for two years while I work on climbing the rankings and trying to establish myself as a pro.’’