Kyle Evans in 'The 211', A Maxxis Film | The Team GB BMX Ripper Talks Racing, Riding and Rio 2016
Having represented his country at the Rio Olympics, Wigan's finest talks about what's next
For anyone who’s seriously into BMX, the name Kyle Evans will be instantly recognisable. The phenomenally fast rider from Wigan first made his mark as a teenager with a string of impressive results, and was selected as a reserve rider for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics at the age of just 18.
But if his name was already well-known in the BMX world, this summer Kyle took a big step towards becoming a genuine household name when he lined up as one of only two British BMXers to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
“Everyone involved all agreed that we wanted it to be badass"
With Sir Chris Hoy (himself a former BMX racer) cheering him on from the BBC commentary box, the 22-year-old acquitted himself well, putting in some really good times and narrowly missing out on progressing from the quarter-final.
Now Kyle’s sponsors, Maxxis and Pure Bicycle Co, have released The 211, a profile of Kyle in which he chats about importance of the games and what it means to him. This is no ordinary profile video however - it’s stacked full of seriously sick riding footage and looks and feels very different to anything we’ve seen about BMX racing before.
“Everyone involved all agreed that we wanted it to be - as the director said - ‘badass’", Kyle told us when we caught up with him to talk about the project. “I guess we all wanted it to be different. Rather than just a straight up ‘face-on-the-screen’ interview. Then it was the question of how can we make a video that would represent Maxxis, me and the sport of BMX in a ‘badass’ way, without it looking mega corporate or cheesy!"
“I think it's been pulled off perfectly," said Kyle, adding modestly that “all credit has to go to the director." While Kyle’s not wrong that the director has smashed it, we feel he’s doing himself down a bit here - because really, it’s his story and his Olympic experience that make the video special.
“One thing I will never forget would be getting on the gate on day one for the time trial. I remember looking around, taking in the atmosphere, the crowd, and the rush of adrenaline that came running through my veins was incredible.
"I remember looking around, taking in the atmosphere, the crowd, and the rush of adrenaline that came running through my veins was incredible."
“Once the starter clicked the start sequence, the voice command came out of the whole PA system around the arena, which none of us [riders] had ever experienced. So I remember being slightly overwhelmed for that split second moment. Then before I knew it, the gate dropped and I had done my first lap of the Olympic Games. [It was an] unbelievable feeling, I came off the track just smiling."
It wasn’t just the sense of occasion on the track that made the Rio games special for Kyle either. He was staying in the Olympic village with all the other British cyclists, including the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, who were winning golds and silvers on the track. “The team atmosphere in camp was pretty high, especially with all the medals coming through the door like hot cakes," remembers Kyle.
“I have so many stories I could be here all night. A personal favourite was being sat in the dining hall, and Cav's face screws up with confusion. He dropped his knife and fork and pretty much shouted ‘noooooo f*ckin’ waaayyyyyyyyy! Triplets?!?' So we all turned round to see these three girls from Estonia. Definitely triplets...
“But he said it so loud they heard him and then we all got caught in some awkward eye contact. We were all sat in amazement, they must’ve been thinking we were a team full of creepy weirdos!"
Cavendish’s amusing chat aside, the main thing that’s stayed with Kyle was the sense of occasion - something that really comes across in The 211. “Representing your country at an Olympic Games is something every professional athlete looks to achieve. I am very fortunate to have done that."
However he says: “I ain't satisfied just yet. I would love to become one of those elite few that comes away from a games with a medal around my neck." With this goal firmly in mind, Kyle will be racing hard for the next few years, working to secure his qualification for Tokyo 2020 - and give himself the best chance of winning one of those precious nuggets of metal in four years time. Seeing the obvious determination on display in The 211, and looking at how far Kyle’s come in his career so far, you’d be stupid to bet against him doing just that.