Currently ranked 2nd in SA and preparing to dominate at this weekend’s BMX World Champs, local sports star Dean Holdstock chats to LW Mag about everything BMX and more…
Full Name: Dean Holdstock
Nickname: Holdi / DH
Hometown: Centurion, Pretoria
Machine of Choice: Intense
Injuries: Snapped all right ankle ligaments, crack C6,7 vertebra with compressed disc, left rotator cuff in shoulder and cracked right wrist
Sponsors: Van Staden Transport, Kered Engineering, Perfection Tool and Dye Making, Thor racing, Skull Candy SA, INTENSE/Cycles Africa, Kabuto Helmets, 5ten Shoes
SA Ranking: Currently in 2nd
How long have you been racing BMX?
How did you get into the sport?
A friend from school.
How do you think BMX has progresses over the past few years?[There has been] immense improvement, I am blown away as to what jumps we are jumping now, where days and the speeds that we can get up to down the SX HILL of course on the smallest bike out there. Every year it becomes more technical with bigger jumps, bigger turns and faster times. It has changed drastically since the 08 Olympic Games where there was no choice but to go fast and jump the bigger gaps.
How often do you race?
Probably twice a month depending on the season.
What class do you race in?
Explain what BMX racing is?
BMX racing is done on the dirt where a track has been laid out with two to four turns where each turn consists of a straight which is all linked up from the starting hill gate to the finish line. Basically a circuit with four straights along with jumps on each straight. You start at one point and finish at another which is one full lap which normally consists of 30 seconds.
You are overseas at the moment preparing for World Champs next weekend. Where are you based?
For now I am based in Belgium Dessel.
How have you been preparing for this year’s worlds?
It’s been really good, by far the best I’ve prepared for an event. At the beginning of the year I was based out in California Murrieta where I continued my off-season training which began last year November and mixed it up with some ABA races across the US. I have been training through my races and just focusing on the one that’s going to count which will be the World Champs, as to training I’ve been spending a lot of time on the track and working on getting stronger out the gate, working on all the small things that add up to be the big things in a time trial. Basically gym, gates and track time mixed with trails every now and then.
What has been your best performance at Worlds?
5TH in semi-finals.
Where are you expecting to finish at this year’s worlds?
Well my main goal is to get in the top 64 to qualify for racing, and then from there I’ll let it all hang loose and hope it’s enough to see me through to the final.
Have you seen the world track yet? What are your thoughts? – If not, what are you hoping to expect?
I have seen the layout and it looks pretty decent for an indoor track, seems like it has a bit of everything with technical jumps to open fast turns to a pretty demanding rhythm section.
Tell us about a day in the life of Dean Holdstock?
Well not too much actually goes on, it consists of two training sessions, a session in the morning and then a power nap after lunch and followed by the second session. It varies to what training I have on that day.
When you’re not preparing and training for racing, what do you do with your downtime?
Ha-ha, now who doesn’t like a good old party surrounded with good old friends.
Where in the world is your favourite place to race and why?
Would have to say Europe; technical tracks steeper landings equals less pedalling. LOL!
What are your goals for the future of your racing career?
To stay competitive at a high level until I can’t anymore, to win an ABA overall title.
Do you think chicks dig BMX racers?
HA-HA!!! Yes the ones that are into the bad boy image (I presume).
We’ve see you out on the jol quite a few times and partied with you – always good times! What type of weekend would you classify as a good party weekend?
Good times it has been! There has to be one night out of the weekend where you get home at 6am, well until they kick you out followed by a good old shit talk over a South African braai with the mates, and as from there I can’t tell you where we could land up.
What do you think South Africa is lacking in the sport of BMX racing?
There is no support structure in place, from the funding, to the tracks, to the competition.
How often do you hit the trails to have some fun?
Not as often as I would like, but I tried to ride trails at least once a week while I was in the states. I actually wish we had some trails to ride in JHB.
How far do you reckon you can manual?
Ha-ha! Probably a good old distance until I run out of speed.
What’s the most important part of being fast on a race track?
Being smooth, aggressive and not over doing it.
What goes through your mind when you’re sitting in the gate?
I focus on getting a good gate and take each 20m on the track as it comes.
What’s your key to a good start?
Focus on timing the gate to perfection and the rest will roll on by.
Best feeling about riding a BMX bike?
For those 30 odd seconds nothing in the world matters but what you’re doing on the bike.
What other sports do you enjoy?
Riding some MX, pumping some curls for the girls, wakeboarding and recently I’ve been practicing my Tiger Woods swing.