Conquista - The Cycling Quarterly Issue 2 - Page 198

“This is where she needs to be. Shanaze needs to race. For so long she was taken out of her comfort zone and made to train in a certain environment and it clearly didn’t work for her”, commented Jamie. For years Shanaze has been the shining beacon in British female BMX racing, seen as a favourite for Olympic success by the mainstream media and actively used as the poster girl of the sport. Having all of that pressure on your shoulders without anyone else to share the mantle is a big ask for anyone. “For Shanaze, she was pushed so far out her comfort zone in the GB set-up that it affected her focus; that’s my opinion anyway”, added Jamie. Moving to California will come as a much needed refresh to her racing, no longer will the spotlight shine purely on her, instead she will make up part of an ever growing contingent of the worlds best female BMXers. The pressure will ease, the attention will drop, which when combined with better facilities and a larger competition base, not to mention year round sunshine, should provide that little bit extra she needs to achieve the one remaining title needed in her trophy cabinet! Thinking about the Future Once the final gate dropped on Dale and Jamie’s racing career it was once again California that offered up their salvation. Jamie Staff returned to the UK and moved into a very successful track cycling career, earning an Olympic Gold medal and 3 world titles, before taking up a coaching role to help the next generation of champions. However it wasn’t long before So Cal came calling, he now once again resides in California, with the rather impressive title of Director of Sprint for USA Cycling. He has also been dusting off the 20” skills and showing that he’s still a formidable opponent out of the gate. As apposed to Jamie, Dale simply never went home, or indeed left BMX racing, although still competing today (from time to time), Dale, like Jamie, started to nurture future talent towards the end of his pro career, which progressed into a team management role. A role like that simply wouldn’t have existed in the UK, with the size of the BMX race scene and the lack of outside sponsorship not able to support such roles. Going into 2014 Dale has moved from his long term sponsors Free Agent and formed his own team Dale Holmes Racing, sponsored by ChaseBMX and Staystrong. Both of these examples show that going to California could offer the best possible opportunities for Shanaze, both in the immediate future with her quest for 2016 gold in Rio and for her long term career options once her final gate has dropped! How well the move will pay off only time will tell, but as she settles into her new house we wish her all the best.