BMXer Cannon takes first at national

October 09, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

For 16 years, El Centro native Brian Cannon has been enthralled by the world of BMX.

One could say he eats BMX, breathes BMX, sleeps BMX. He even works at the Finish Line Pro Bike Shop in El Centro, a sanctuary for local BMXers. Plainly and simply, Cannon epitomizes BMX in the Imperial Valley.

The 27-year-old added to his local legend Sept. 30 when he won the Redline West Championship Cup in Primm, Nev., in the 26-30-year-old cruiser division.

"Winning that couldn't have been nicer. That whole thing was just awesome," said Cannon.

Competing in one of the biggest BMX national events, where close to 4,000 riders competed in various divisions, Cannon, was considered an underdog.


Knowing he was up against some of the best riders in the world, he entered the Sept. 28 preliminaries just wanting a strong showing. Going against four other riders in a heat, Cannon rode away with the win.

It was just a preliminary, but his confidence started growing. He earned a spot in the championship against much stiffer competition.

"That Saturday was when the real competition showed up. Not everybody had to race on Friday, so some of the top guys just raced in the championship," said Cannon. "One of the guys I was looking at was Chad Roberts. He was the man to beat. He's from Orange County and he's got a big-name sponsor and pretty much just has to race … doesn't really have to work for anything. I knew if I was going to win it, I'd have to beat him."

In the end it came down to Cannon and Roberts. And Cannon won.

"That was such a big achievement. Going into it I definitely had winning on my mind," said Cannon. "I had raced in it two years ago and was up by like 10 bike lengths. I pretty much had it won then I wrecked and lost. So since then a lot of people have been giving me a hard time about that. And that was kind of on my mind. So now I think I redeemed myself."

The Redline championship in Primm was Cannon's second national title, after his first two years ago in Phoenix. Because of the level of competition in Primm, Cannon said his second championship means more to him.

As a two-time national champion, Cannon is looked upon as a role model for youngsters around the Valley.

Cannon said he will use that status to encourage Valley youths to continue to compete in BMX.

"I think there's a lot of kids around here that feel just because we're from a small town it's too tough to compete against people with big sponsors," said Cannon. "There's a lot of kids I talk to at the track (in Seeley) who I'm always telling that it doesn't matter where you come from, that you can make it no matter what."

After 16 years of racing competitively, Cannon proved it really doesn't matter where someone is from.

While he does have an extensive support crew that has backed him from day one, he said the person that has been his biggest influence is his brother David Bailey. Four years older than Cannon, Bailey got his brother started in racing when he was 11 years old.

Cannon quit racing for awhile, but it was Bailey who convinced him to get back into it. If it wasn't for Bailey, Cannon said he wouldn't be where he is today.

So it was with Bailey's help that Cannon had a great weekend in Primm. But just as things seemed to hit their peak, something else happened that weekend.

"I went to Vegas and got married. I went up there and won that race, then on Monday, I got married. That was the perfect ending to a great weekend."

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