Strong work ethic needed to be a BMX pro

2013-03-08T22:00:00Z Strong work ethic needed to be a BMX proJohn Burbridge john.burbridge@nwi.com, (219) 933-3371 nwitimes.com

HOBART | Don't get Brandon Brown wrong. He still loves bicycle motocross.

"But if you want to be a pro at it, you've got to treat it like a full-time job," Brown said. "Riding is always going to be fun for me, but now how I prepare and train off the track matters more.

"It comes down to working harder than the next guy."

The 21-year-old Valparaiso resident has been racing BMX since he was 10 years old. He went pro at 18 and hopes this season will be his breakout year.

"I made a couple of mains last season," Brown said. "You're going up against the best in the world. You've got to be mentally and physically at your best."

Brown was at Steel Wheels indoor track — a place he often raced and practiced during his formative years — to give a Supercamp with BMX superstar Bubba Harris during the weekend of Feb. 16-17.

"He used to be someone I idolized," Brown said of Harris, a three-time AMA Senior Pro 20-inch AMA world champion and four-time AMA BMXer "Golden Crank" Professional of the Year. "Now, I'm on the same team with him, traveling with him and giving camps with him."

Harris was coasting toward his fourth-straight Senior Pro world championship, but while training in Beijing, China in preparation for the 2008 Olympics, he severely dislocated his left ankle.

"It was hanging by a tendon," Harris said of his gruesome injury that nearly cost him his foot. Though doctors managed to save it, Harris' Olympic dreams were dashed.

"But I still have hopes for Rio (de Janiero, Brazil, home of the 2016 Olympics)," Harris said. "For the first time in about five years I'm pain free, and I know I'm faster than I've ever been."

At 27 years old, the Arizona native believes he's nearing the apex of his already storied career. Harris recently signed on to race for Badd and Company, operated by the husband-and-wife team of Kevin and Allison Elo, of Crown Point.

"They made me feel at home," Harris said of the Badd and Company racing team, which Brown is also a part of. "I know they are 100 percent behind me, and as long as I can stay healthy it's going to be a great partnership."

Badd and Company sponsored the camp, and will hold another Supercamp this summer at Imagination Glen Park in Portage.

"Our outdoor camps are usually four-day events," said Kevin Elo, who initially got in the BMX business with his wife due to the sport aspirations of their sons Liam, 8, and Alex, 6, who are both nationally ranked riders in their respective classes.

Harris and Brown were due to give a few more camps before the racing season begins.

"We get a little break, but not much," Harris said of the few months between racing seasons. "Doing these camps keeps us busy ... reminds me of when I was starting out."

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