Brooks gets big break - in more ways than one

Alex Paton wins the Perfs Pedal. Picture: Hugh McManus

Perfs relief for Paton after double trouble

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Declan Brooks experienced the ups and downs of freestyle BMX within the space of a few minutes after his impressive performance at a high-profile event in Germany.

The 17-year-old rider, from Portchester, registered the best results of his professional career with three top-10 finishes in the different disciplines up against a high-class field at the BMX Worlds in Cologne.

Portchester BMX ace Declan Brooks in action

Portchester BMX ace Declan Brooks in action

But on his final run in the competition, Brooks suffered a serious crash that broke three bones and has now put him out of action for three months.

He explained: ‘It was a bit of a mixed weekend, I guess.

‘I was really pleased with the result but I’m out for six-to-12 weeks now so I’m not too happy about that.

‘There are three or four different disciplines.

‘One of those is the park contest, which is on ramps and you get judged on two runs and then a best trick.

‘I did my two runs, which were good enough to get me into second place and then I had a bad crash on my last trick.

‘You get different courses and I was trying to use the obstacle but it wasn’t something I had done before. Basically, I fell 20 feet – that’s the easiest way to explain it.

‘I had concussion so I didn’t really know where I was for a while.

‘But it turned out that I had broken my collarbone, my sternum and my shoulder.

‘So it’s healing time now and I’m in a brace for a while.’

Freestyle BMX is made up of several disciplines and Brooks excelled with a sixth-placed finish in the vert – where tricks are completed in a half-pipe.

He managed fourth in the dirt discipline – over natural terrain – but saved his best result for last in the park contest, which is over a selection of ramps, claiming the runner-up position.

But while broken bones is an occupational hazard to a professional BMX rider, Brooks felt he had made big improvements after a training trip to the USA.

And now he has set his sights on appearing at the X Games.

He said: ‘I went out to California a few weeks ago to train and I’m sure that helped me sharpen up a few things.

‘I was delighted with my result. I just went there to qualify for each final.

‘Only 20 riders get through to the finals in each discipline and I was just out to qualify and around 70 or 80 riders try to get through.

‘I’ve been doing it professionally for about three years and riding for seven or eight years but it’s the best result of my career.

‘Now I would love to get to the X Games. If you are invited there, you know you have made it.’