Spotlight: Bethany Shriever

Monday, September 18, 2017

BMX is one of the least funded disciplines in cycling, yet you have athletes that arguably train harder and risk greater than any other cycling sport - maybe even any sport period. An example here is Bethany Shriever, British BMX racer and newly crowned junior World champion, who is doing it all on her own.

Beatrice: How and when did you get your start in BMX racing?

I was 8 years old and my brother's friend's dad, was the lead coach at my local BMX track, one day he invited both myself and my youngest brother to the track and we fell in love.

Beatrice: Congratulations on getting the win at the 2017 Worlds! For those who were not there and not around you, what was your day like leading up to finals? 

Bethany At the World champs my day went to plan, won every round leading up to the final, I hadn't faced Saya (my main competition) until the final and she also had won all her rounds leading up the final. I felt good all day, comfortable with the track and my competitors, but in the back of my mind I knew it would be a tough battle between myself and Saya in the final, as she also was on top form.

BVC Bikes - Supercross carbon BLK frame and forks

For the final lap that mattered the most, you had a great start, at what point during the race did you see the opportunity to beat Saya Sakakibara at the line? What was going through your head during the first couple of straights and when did it click in that you won?

As soon as I saw Saya ahead of me with that amount of distance I accepted in my head that I was going to get second, so I just kept my cool and kept pushing none the less and managed to close the gap on the third straight and it was only until I entered the last corner where I thought I had a chance of passing her, until that point I thought I had silver. This is why it was such a shock to me when I did take the win, because Saya had made some distance between me and her. I knew straight away when I crossed the line that I had it, and then the initial reaction was shock.

Beatrice: If I'm correct, I do believe you are the first Elite Women since Shanaze Reade, right? First, how does it feel to finally get rid of the Jr title to your name, and what does being Elite mean now, how has your training sessions change and do you get additional support now, if so how?

I'm always going to have that World title to my name, but like you say, I'm moving up into a whole new World, the best of the best in BMX and it is going to be tough. My training doesn't really change, I am going to be working extremely hard over the winter to get as strong as I can, I want to have the best chance at making finals in elite women, that's the aim. I am no longer with British Cycling because there is no funding, I am doing it all on my own with the help of my coach I have known for years, and sponsors who are willing to get me my equipment and get me to the places I need to get to to compete and train.

Beatrice: Does the lack of Elite women riders in GB say anything about the sport in GB? Are there not enough female riders or support, what's your take/perspective on this?

There is support, just no funding. It is a shame because in the UK we have lots of up and coming girls coming up to junior level and now they have to do it on their own. However, we are a tight network in the UK and we all talk and help each other, I am more than happy to be giving the girls advice and helping them improve.

This F2 CARBON FORGE MIPS helmet is the one Bethany wore at Worlds!

Beatrice: What are your thoughts on the 2018 Worlds location being in Baku, Azerbaijan? Parents are already opting out based on the location and safety. Will you be planning to go?

If I am selected by British Cycling I will be more than happy to go, I love it when races are in places like these because you get to see a whole new culture and experience something completely different to what you are usually used to. Everyone will be in the same boat, but it will be one to remember regarding where it is based.

Beatrice: Not sure if you noticed this, but there’s a masters class for male riders, but none for female riders. So you have veteran female racers, competing against the challenge class at Worlds. What are your thoughts on this and the impact on the future of the sport?

I never thought about that actually, that's interesting, they should definitely look into adding another veteran type class for women who ride 20'' bikes. I think that the sport for us girls has improved over the years and I think it can only get better, now a days we have equal prize money which we never had in the past, tracks are only going to start getting more technical and more demanding as the skill level keeps on rising.

Beatrice: If you could name 3 people to dedicate your success to, who would they be?

Mum, Dad and Mark Seaman

Beatrice: What's your day to day life like now, since we're in the off season and where or when will your next big race be?

Currently, I am working part time so I can still train during the week. My next big race isn't until next year now, so now I'm putting my head down and going to work extremely hard and get faster!

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