BMX rider, Vincent Leygonie, has absolutely been killing it this year, stacking up contest wins and generally having the best time.
We recently spent some time with Vincent during a session at The Compound BMX Park resulting in this video part and interview feature #BackyardStoke.
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Give us some background into your journey of becoming a BMX rider?
The start of my BMX journey was started by accident. I originally wanted to start doing trials riding but I couldn’t find a site that shipped to South Africa. So I bought a BMX bike and thought it was basically the same thing, which it wasn’t even close but I didn’t care. I started riding with a new bunch of friends at school and we just started messing around but little did I know I was building a good base of starting tricks, and after a year and riding skate parks I stopped cycling and took BMX on as my main focus!
What have been some of the highlights of you career so far?
Man, I have so many highlights but the big one is definitely getting picked up by Dragon Energy. Also winning my second ever contest, winning one of the Ramp Rodeo stops is definitely right up there! Other highlights is scoring an invite to Ult.X as well as winning the Local Hero award this year. Getting invited to Night Harvest and meeting some of my role models and riding with them is also a large highlight.
On a weekly basis, how often do you get to ride your bike?
I try to ride my bike at least three times a week. I don’t always get it right with working such physical job from 7-5 during the week. I will say that its done my riding wonders with recovering as now I don’t ride every single day, so that’s been a bonus. But, every session I make a note of at least scaring myself with something a bit gnarly.
What have been some of the harder tricks for you to learn, and which are you still busy working on?
Nose manuals… absolutely the worst trick to learn. I struggled so much, like its unreal. I have been working on 360 Down Whips for a long time but I do get them right now and then.
Which trick are you aiming to have on lock by the end of the year?
I would like to have Flairs more on lock as well as more 540 combos. Otherwise I just want to roast more quarters, I would like to be going higher than ever.
What do you think is the craziest trick you’ve ever landed?
Man, so the trick wasn’t that difficult but the drop was burly. At Thrashers Skate Park there’s a large roof gap and a big drop to a flat bank. During a contest I gapped up to Hang Five on the roof but I scrubbed way to much speed off for the drop. I was terrified, keeping in mind my biggest Hang Five drop is maybe half a meter, this was huge like a 2 meter drop was coming up and I had no speed. As I started to drop down to the bank I cased my rear wheel, which I’m still convinced saved me from eating it hard. So yeah, it’s a bit weird but that was so crazy for me.
What are your pros and cons of the local scene?
Cons – The scene is very small and separated, like I have to drive an hour to ride with some heavy hitters unless Nathi (Steeze) comes my side to sesh. We’ve lost so many parks and riders since I started riding, it’s very sad that we lost such good facilities.
Pros – The scene is so rad even though everyone is far apart, but we get all the dudes together and have a good time. I mean where ever I go I never feel unwelcome from riders, like if you’re a rider you’re a homie, which is so cool coming from cycling where people could be very snobbish for lack of a better word.
What changes would you like see happen in the local scene?
More contests, bigger contest for sure. The scene is already growing and if we could get these dudes pushing harder to do well in contests and get them filming we can have some local guys overseas repping South Africa in no time. So yeah, more contests and hopefully new parks and stuff going up. I know we can’t control the last one as much but if the sport grows we will have to make more facilities to accommodate it.
What events/ competitions do you get most hyped on and why?
I get hyped to ride any trails, even like Night Harvest, I just get the most hyped. I also get super hyped on watching the Vans Bowl Cup!
Which one international event would you want to compete in?
The Vans Bowl Cup! I’m not a type of rider to do a million tricks, I love going fast and blasting quarters! The Vans Bowl Cup is all about going fast, being super stylish and just going high and fast, and having a good time. So that’s a dream contest to go to,
Where would you like to see your BMX career take you and what are your goals for the future?
Would love to be able to just ride my bike for a living but mainly I’d love to go overseas and go experience other riding cultures. As well as get more involved with getting younger dudes on bikes and making the scene bigger.
Coming from a cycling background, do you think it favours your competition runs with having more strength in your legs?
Not really strength but more endurance. Coming from cycling I had a lot of natural bike control. I also wasn’t the strongest climber so I would have to have a strong mind-set to be able to sit with stronger dudes to do well. When I ride BMX I can switch off a lot of pain in my legs and just keep pushing until I cramp up and die or until the day is finished. That’s the biggest thing I’ve noticed.
What goes through your mind during a competition run?
Generally I have a line around the park I want to use and the roughest idea of what tricks I want to put where. I’ll start thinking from how the first trick goes and if that goes well, then the next trick gets progressively more intense and if that trick goes well then I just repeat the process until I land super sketchy and lose speed, or fall, or finish the run off with a banger. However, it doesn’t always go to plan so I end up looking at parts of the course no one is using and look for something to do there or do something no one else has done yet. I do try to keep jokes going off in my head so that I don’t over think, so basically I’m telling myself stupid jokes about how I landed funny or a noise I made. It’s something stupid but it keeps my riding fun and a smile on my face. Plus, nothing in my run gets landed if I don’t have fun!
Give us a run down of your ultimate run?
This is difficult, so many dream set-ups to put a sick run down on. I cant think which I would love to ride but it will have huge airs with massive Look-backs and Turndowns, to large transfer Tailwhips, some sneaky 360 variations and 540 airs. Most importantly my dream run must happen while I’m having the most fun because you can land every trick ever but if you don’t have fun it’s not worth it.
How would you best sum up the shoot for this feature and which was your favourite segment/ part?
Cramping up at the end was my favourite [laughs]. I enjoyed all the weird positioning of GoPros as they opened up some of the raddest angles and effects. I also enjoyed working with Shawn (van Zyl), it was cool to make sure that I do a trick properly so he could get the raddest shots!
Just a few. My dad because without him I wouldn’t be where i am today. My girlfriend for sure, she always makes me send it at contests. Dragon Energy for helping me achieve a dream and supporting me. BMX Direct for helping me keep my bike fresh. Obviously LW Mag for giving me the opportunity to have a feature and just being at most events supporting the dudes.