Wyatt Christensen of Kingston is only 9, but he’s racking up accolades in BMX racing nationally and worldwide.
He recently won the 2021 National Championship at the USA Grand Nationals in Tulsa, Okla.
The phenom won the Expert Class for his age group during Thanksgiving weekend, adding to his collection. His father, David Christensen, said his son’s season points were so high that he ended up eighth in the nation among all amateur men and boys, regardless of age.
“It was really hard, big and long days,” Wyatt said about his recent win. “I was really excited because we didn’t get to go last year because of COVID and wanted to stay safe so I missed out.”
Next up for Wyatt is preparation for the UCI BMX World Championships in France next year, where he will be defending his World 3 title from Belgium in 2019, the last time the races were held due to COVID. Wyatt said he will start by practicing in Las Vegas before going to France in July.
“I am hoping to have fun and get another world plate, but number one,” Wyatt said, adding that competition is harder since it is against kids from around the globe.
Wyatt became interested in BMX when one of his dad’s friends told him about it when they moved to Kingston where they’ve lived for seven years. He started on a strider bike (balance bike with no pedals) at 9 months old before pedaling a bike at age 3. When Wyatt turned 5, he rode his first BMX bike.
“My dad and mom and I loved watching Supercross so I liked the idea of racing on a track,” he said.
BMX stands for Bicycle Motorcross, and the bikes are made for off-road racing and trick riding. Wyatt said he races on tracks similar to Motorcross with a starting point, obstacles, turns and jumps. He goes to indoor and outdoor tracks.
Wyatt does most of his practicing at the Lincoln Park BMX track in Port Angeles. Christensen said the track is “excellent” for people interested in BMX.
Wyatt’s mentor is 14-year-old Sean Day from Tacoma, who just won the USA BMX National Amateur Title. Wyatt was coached for several years by Danny Buch, owner of Sendt Bikes in Victoria, Canada, but has not been able to see him recently because of the border closure, which Christensen said has been “very hard” on his son. Buch was with Wyatt when he won his first national title at age 6 and his win in Belgium.
Since Wyatt gets excellent coaching, Christensen said he doesn’t get in the way too much.
“I get involved with the basic workouts that we do at home. We did get a practice gate this year for the house so Wyatt can practice starts … But for the most part, I find that I simply get Wyatt where he needs to be to ride his bike,” David said. “He rides skateparks, dirt jumps, track and downhill. He really doesn’t train in the gym yet. We try to keep his training to riding and having fun on his bike. He’s still so young I really don’t want to burn him out with any sort of formal training. I do feel riding all the different bikes and terrains helps a lot.”
In the winter, Wyatt said he rides a couple times a week but that increases to about four times a week in summer. He said he sometimes goes to different states to train with friends. “I love it because we get to travel and I have friends across the world.”
Wyatt said he also enjoys watching BMX competitions, especially in the X Games and Olympics, where he envisions himself being in the future. Some of his favorite riders include Olympian Conner Fields, Olympic gold medalist Niek Kimmann, and Wyatt’s new teammate Josh Mclean.
Aside from biking, Wyatt also would like to play football. For a career, he wants to be an engineer.
“I feel like I stack up pretty high to” my competitors, he said. “I have a lot of good competition, and we push each other to go faster. I sometimes race people older than me in the open classes. I try to get better all the time. I want to try other sports along the way, but I do love bikes.”
David said: “We are very proud of Wyatt. More so for his great attitude and character than his results. He is very humble, and a great role model for younger kids. He also has an incredible work ethic and has learned at a very young age that his results are often determined by his training effort.”
“I feel Wyatt has a bright future on two wheels,” he continued. “He has already excelled at mountain biking, pump track racing and dual slalom. I imagine he will continue to open his own doors with his magnetic personality and excellent character. If he continues to work hard in the classroom and at his athletic endeavors, then the sky is the limit.”