15 year old Jenna Byrnes made a huge impact at the 2022 Park Lines BMX Tournament by being the only female rider to compete, as well as being the first South African female rider to land a Backflip. History Made!
We caught up with the young shredder to get her thoughts on the event, and more…
Full name: Jenna Byrnes
Hometown: Port Elizabeth
Years riding: 2 and a half years
Claim to fame: Being the only girl to ride BMX competitively in South Africa
Sponsors: Fox Racing South Africa, Dragon Energy, Robbies Bicycle Concept, Lyne Components and Spank Industries South Africa
How would you best sum up your experience at Park Lines 2022?
Park Lines was my first BMX competition and it was definitely one to remember. It was an insane day watching some mind blowing BMX riding. I met so many new people and it was so nice to have a skatepark full of BMX riders!
What was your highlight moment of the day, and why?
Definitely my Backflip. It was my first ever attempt to concrete and doing it in a skatepark has been something I have been wanting to try. It was such a sick vibe and I had to try one.
Coming into the contest, what were your expectations and were they reached?
My expectations were to do decently well which I definitely reached. When I first saw the park I wanted to do a Backflip somewhere but I had no clue where I would even try one. I also wasn’t expecting to come 5th in Amateurs, which is just the cherry on top.
How does it feel and what does it mean to you to be the first female in South Africa to land a backflip?
Honestly it feels unreal. It definitely means a lot to me because ever since I started riding the Backflip had been my dream trick. I hope it inspires other girls to start BMXing!
What was it like to ride the legendary Stoneridge park?
It was such an awesome experience to ride such a well-built skatepark. It is definitely a lot bigger than the one here in PE. The flow at Stoneridge is unreal and I could ride it all day.
Which riders impressed you the most and why?
Definitely Vin (Leygonie), it was my first time watching him ride in person and he threw down some massive stunts. He also has a really nice style, which makes it look so much better. It was also really cool seeing the overseas riders, Jak (Tones) and Greg (Illingworth). They also threw some bangers down.
What do you feel an event like Park Lines does for BMX in South Africa and where would you like to see it go?
It was such a well-run event, I feel like it inspires people to start BMXing. I would definitely like to see more riders in the future, which I’m sure there will be. It is such a nice opportunity to meet other riders with the same goals as you, they help push you and become a better rider. I feel like it will help the sport grow so much more as the riders finally have a completion to work towards winning.
What would you like to see added to the next Park Lines BMX Tournament?
I would definitely like to see some smaller ramps as that’s what I’m used to [laughs]. But, in all seriousness it was such a well-run event, I wouldn’t change a thing!
What’s next for Jenna Byrnes?
The plan is to go and race the UCI Downhill MTB World Champs next year. I would love to get some BMX riding in while I’m overseas as well. As of right now the plan is to just keep riding every day and keep progressing.
I would just like to thank Dragon Energy, without them this wouldn’t have been possible. And, a massive thanks so Fox Racing for keeping me safe with all my gear!
#ParkLines BMX Tournament presented by LW Mag and Dragon Energy in association with Dickies, Garmin, GoPro, Mongoose Bikes and Willards.
Photos by Eric Palmer.