NOVA BMX Rider Spotlight
This is where we get to introduce you to some of the athletes that make up the NOVA BMX family.
June 2018 ~ Rider of the Month ~ Mary Kate Park
“When I grow up,” my wife said recently, “I want to be Mary Kate Park.”
It’s easy to see why June’s Rider of the Month inspires that kind of admiration. A crowd favorite at NOVA BMX, Mary Kate embodies some of the best attributes of our sport. On the track, she is determined, persistent, and seemingly fearless. In the pits, she is friendly, confident, and well-spoken. A thoroughly modern young lady, Mary Kate can rock a full-face BMX helmet and turquoise nail polish with equal aplomb.
Mary Kate is 11-years-old and hails from Manassas Park, Virginia. She is the 5th of 6 children in her family, all the rest being boys. Her older brother Simon and younger brother, Declan, also race.
Growing up in a household of boys appears to have been good preparation for Mary Kate’s BMX career, as her competitors at NOVA BMX usually end up being guys. That hasn’t been an issue for Mary Kate, as she’s managed to rack up seven wins since she began racing at NOVA BMX last season. She is now focused on making her way through the ranks and has the Girl’s Class (and Expert points) firmly fixed in her sights.
Win or lose, though, Mary Kate said her favorite aspects of BMX are the fun of riding and the challenge of competition. Frequent visitors to NOVA BMX have probably heard the announcers shout themselves hoarse trying to keep up with the action in the 10 and 11 Novice Classes, where the lead often shifts back and forth multiple times during a lap. Savvy spectators also know to watch out for big moves from Mary Kate in Turn 2, where she often pushes her bike to the limit to make the passes that earn her wild applause from the crowd and a spot on the podium.
Mary Kate also underscores the point that it’s the rider, not the bike, that leads to BMX success. Thanks to a growth spurt, she is currently competing on track loaners and putting those of us who obsess over every detail of our personal bikes to shame.
Simply put, to see Mary Kate ride is to experience the exuberant fun of BMX.
Fittingly, Mary Kate is a member of the Get-a-Grip BMX Team, a crew that knows how to have a good time on and off the track. When asked if she had anyone she’d like to thank for furthering her BMX career, Mary Kate’s answer was immediate: Jay Martin. Jay, of course, is a NOVA BMX fixture, having presided as president of the track, resident coach, and a founding member of Get-a-Grip. Riders like Mary Kate are a testament to the work and heart Jay has put into the track and the sport.
A versatile athlete, Mary Kate also competes in volleyball.
Whatever comes next for Mary Kate Park, you can bet she’ll make her presence known in any crowd. Fair warning to all the guys out there, don’t underestimate her … especially in Turn 2.
This rider spotlight was written by our local racer and BMX dad, Christopher Zealand. Photos provided by Mary Kate's parents.