VETERAN BMX rider Sarah-Jane Nichols has soared to new heights, winning a silver medal at the World Championships held at the Rock Hill BMX Supercross Track in the United States last weekend.

The achievement has catapulted her to the number two spot in the world rankings for her age category.

Sarah-Jane, now 54, competed against a field of 68 riders in 40+ category on Sunday, May 12, and she was the oldest lady in the final.

There were BMX riders from 41 countries competing out in the U.S. 

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Basingstoke Gazette: Sarah-Jane Nichols at the world championships“To say I’m buzzing right now is an understatement,” she told the Gazette after winning the silver medal.

"Two years ago, I never dreamed of riding a BMX again and here I am number two in the whole world."

The world second place is another milestone in Sarah-Jane's extraordinary journey back to the top of BMX racing, a journey that has captured the admiration of fans and fellow competitors alike.

The Bramley resident, who previously became a seven-time British, four-time European, and one-time World BMX champion, returned to the sport last year after a 35-year hiatus.

Sarah-Jane's love for BMX began in the heady days of the 80s, a time when the sport was a cultural phenomenon.

Despite retiring in 1987 to focus on a successful ice hockey career, where she played for various elite teams including Guilford and Basingstoke Hyenas and represented England and Great Britain, her passion for BMX never waned.

The Covid pandemic and the onset of menopause prompted Sarah-Jane to reassess her priorities, leading her back to BMX.

"There can be a very big difference in a woman's health from 40 to 50 as they go into the menopause. And I have had a pretty horrendous time the past few years with menopause," she said.

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Returning to a sport that had evolved significantly since her departure, she embraced the new challenges with determination and vigour.

Her comeback has been nothing short of spectacular. After a stunning third-place finish at the British BMX Championships, she clinched her first national victory since returning to the sport just a few weeks ago.

Despite a big crash caused by a gust of wind during a national event two weeks before the World Championships, which saw three riders blown off mid-jump, Sarah-Jane remained focused and determined.

Her next target is to compete the national series this year, the immediate one being in Scotland in two weeks.

Then she is aiming for the British Championships at the end of August.

"Next year's World Championships is in Denmark, a little closer to home, but I take one race at a time as it is such a high-intensity, adrenaline-fuelled sport, and dreams can be shattered in seconds," she said.

"I would like to also thank my partner, Paul, my parents and family, and Mr A. I could not have achieved any of this without their support. It's been such a journey so far and it's not over yet."