James, 9, takes on BMX world title event
MERSEYSIDE BMX racer, James Criddle, is riding high after making it to the final heats of the world championships in America – and he’s only nine-years-old.
James was one of just five qualifying youngsters in the nineand-under category from across the country who flew out to the States representing Great Britain in the championships.
He has been racing since he was just five years old and was able to take part in the prestigious annual competition, held this year in South Carolina, after qualifying in a national contest in Birmingham last year.
James, who lives in Crosby with his parents, Iain Criddle and Ruth Jones, succeeded in getting through the final heats before being knocked out, along with the four other British riders in his age group.
His father Iain, a lawyer, explained that the BMX courses in America are different to those in this country and their homegrown riders consequently have an advantage, using their different techniques.
But James, a Merchant Taylors’ pupil, who rides under the name Jimmy Criddle, is delighted to have done so well.
“He trains three times a week in Preston, where he has one-toone coaching, and his successes just spur him on,” said Iain, adding that James, his only child, already has his sights set on the Olympics in years to come
“I’m really really proud of him and it’s thrilling to think that thousands of people across the world watched him and the other competitors on internet TV and U-tube.
“As well as having to contend with a different type of course they also had to deal with 100F temperatures so it was an amazing achievement for him.”
Luckily for the plucky schoolboy – whose inevitable injuries over the years have included a broken hand, badly gashed leg and a split chin – his proud parents are 100% behind him.
Which is fortunate, for as well as footing the bill for the trip to America there is the cost of his BMX bike and essential protective clothing.
And James has even been known to practise his skills by jumping his bike over his prone dad.
“He’s really dedicated and trains hard so we are happy to back him all the way,’’ Iain explained.
‘‘James is so keen he even had the letters BMX shaved into the back of his hair.”
james was the ‘poster boy’ for the Birmingham championships and has now just agreed to ride for BMX Widow Photography Race Team next season, which he is thrilled about.
Perhaps surprisingly, despite his fearless talents while on his bike James is actually a quiet lad, who is otherwise quite happy enjoying a leisurely game of cricket.
Merseyside BMX racer James Criddle