Veteran BMX rider makes comeback 36 years after world championship win

  • WATCH: ITV Meridian's Andrew Pate met the veteran BMX rider

A 52-year-old BMX rider from Basingstoke is preparing to return to the sport 36 years after winning her first competition.

Sarah-Jane Nichols was victorious in the 1986 World Girls' BMX Championships in Slough at the age of 16.

She thought her racing days were over until she was invited to speak to young BMX enthusiasts in Andover. With their encouragement, she decided to make an extraordinary comeback.

Sarah-Jane, who was recently inducted into the first British BMX Hall of Fame, couldn't resist taking a more active role than initially planned.

She explained: "I had a little go around the track. It just sparked that little ignition, and now I'm back riding (and) training. I plan to race again next year."

As well as reigniting her own passion for the sport, Sarah-Jane's second career in BMX has inspired the next generation of racers in Andover.

BMX coach Willie Plowman said: "She's helping the younger members to grow, especially the girls. She still has the mentality of 'I'm the world champion. If you want it, come and get me.'"

BMX racing has been an Olympic sport since 2008, with Southsea's Declan Brooks winning a medal at the delayed Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

So, if you see a young girl or boy from Andover on the podium before too long, there's a good chance that Sarah-Jane's own comeback may just have played a small part in their story.