The BMX Life of James “J-­MAC” McNeill

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Human Interest, Personal History, Sports

Photo by Cyndi Asch

     James “J-­Mac” McNeill is a military veteran and an avid BMX rider. J-Mac, a 52-year-old Corpus Christi resident, races class and cruiser bikes at his local BMX track, STX BMX Raceway.  J-Mac, who joined the Coast Guard in 1988, served 23 years as a helicopter rescue hoist operator and Falcon jet drop master. He was also an aviation maintenance technician First Class. While he loved his life in the military, he continued to have a passion for riding bicycles.

     When asked about his BMX beginning, J‐Mac put it this way, “I rode BMX before racing existed.” The first race that he ever rode was in a park that had one obstacle – a mud pit! This was just the beginning of his BMX racing career. It wasn’t until the 1980s at the Orange County YMCA racetrack that he started racing real BMX.

     J­‐Mac said that he liked BMX when he first started riding because it was not a team sport. It was a sport that depended solely upon the rider. In BMX, the success of the rider depends upon how hard the individual pushes himself. In the more than 30 years of riding BMX, J­‐Mac has had many successes.  According to J-Mac, his biggest achievement thus far is reaching two goals in one season. He ended the 2016 season at number 2 in District and State on his cruiser bike. His current goal for this year is to make Expert on his 20­‐inch class bike. J­‐Mac is currently sponsored by The Valor Club, an organization dedicated to military veterans and active duty.

Photo by Cyndi Asch

     When asked what advice he would give to the younger generation racers and newcomers to the sport, J-Mac said, “Ride more.  Ride the track until you can’t ride anymore, and ride all over town when you can. If I could ride as much as I want to, I would be so much better. Ride like crazy!”

     This response clearly shows his passion for the sport. I know firsthand that this is truly how he feels because I am a rider at his local track.  J-Mac suggested one day at practice that everyone do ten laps without stopping. It was tough, but we learned that it was doable.  J-Mac is a great role model because he not only motivates other racers to set lofty goals and push harder to achieve them, he shows them how it’s done.

Photo by Cyndi Asch
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BMX: No One Rides the Bench When Riding a Bike

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Sports

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Do you have a child who loves to ride or wants to learn to ride a bicycle?  BMX is a sport that calls to bike riders from ages 2 and up. BMX stands for Bicycle MotoCross. It’s a form of bicycling that is meant to mimic MotoCross motorcycles. There are all sorts of competitive BMX sports including racing and stunt BMX; however, BMX is also a recreational activity enjoyed by millions of kids – and adults – throughout the world.

Striders

What most people don’t know is that Corpus Christi has a local BMX (bicycle motocross) track.  BMX is currently one of the fastest growing sports in North America.  Unlike most other sports (i.e. baseball, football, basketball), BMX is an individual sport.  Although riders can be picked up to ride for a team or sponsor, at the end of the season, they are placed by their individual successes (points earned throughout the season).  BMX is a fun, affordable, family-oriented sport that helps build self-esteem by building confidence and teaching the riders to set and reach personal goals. BMX also promotes physical fitness by building strong bodies and minds.

BMX

The Corpus Christi track is STX BMX, which is located at 3701 Greenwood Drive (past Horne and located across from Boys & Girls Club in the sports complex behind Universal Baseball).

To give the local BMX track a try, all you need is a bike (without a kickstand, reflectors, or pegs), a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a helmet.  Your first time out you will need to fill out a one-day waiver and pay $5.00 to practice.  If you like the sport and want to come back to race, you will have to get a membership through USABMX, which is $65.00 per year and can be paid at the track. Races (motos) are run in heats.  Each set of heats is $10, which includes pre-race practice time.

If this sounds like something that you or someone you know would be interested in doing, please check the schedule below and be sure to check back for future articles in The Paper Trail regarding BMX – the sport where no one rides the bench.

   IMG_8058   The current schedule for STX BMX:

  • Sunday – Practice from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. with races to follow;
  • Tuesday – Practice from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with races to follow; and
  • Thursday – Practice from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

 

 

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