Newcastle siblings are state BMX champs

September 6, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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Newcastle is home to two reigning Washington state USA BMX champions.

In fact, they live under the same roof and both attend Hazelwood Elementary School.

Ella and Logan Vermeire captured the state championships in their respective age groups a year ago. Ella won the title for 8-year-old girls and Logan won the title for 6-year-old boys.

“For them to both win, in the same year, brother and sister, it was crazy,” said Melissa Vermeire, Ella and Logan’s mother.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Newcastle residents Ella and Logan Vermeire are state champion BMX riders. The siblings, pictured with their championship trophies, will look to defend their titles at the end of September in Sumner.

Logan, 7, beat out more than 25 kids for his title, while Ella, 9, beat out about 20.

Bicycle motocross, more commonly known as BMX, is an organized bicycle race usually on a dirt track, complete with various obstacles including bumps and other hazards.

The Vermeires’ love for BMX began with dad, Eric.

“I raced when I was a kid in the ‘80s and then I hadn’t been involved for many years,” Eric said. “Then I went on the Internet and was looking around and sure enough BMX was alive and well and the same track that I raced at was still going. So we just decided one weekend to go down there and see what it was all about.”

Since then, Logan has been hooked on the sport. He started racing when he was 3 years old.

“When Logan turned 3, he got a new bicycle and right away he just wanted to take off his training wheels,” Melissa said. “He just was a natural. He just fell in love with it.”

After watching her brother compete, Ella began racing when she was 7.

“Ella saw it and she thought it looked really neat,” Melissa said. “She’s really become quite the great rider.”

To win a state title, racers must compete in at least three state qualifying races in addition to a state final in September. There are 10 state qualifying races a year. Racers can attend as many as they would like but only the top three scores will be added to a final score. The total points based on placements in each of the races then determine the state champion.

The Vermeires train five days a week at their home track in SeaTac, North SeaTac BMX Park. But for some races, the family must travel to Sumner, Bellingham or Eastern Washington to compete. It’s a sport that requires time, travel, money and strong family support.

“You have to care, you have to have a lot of heart to race,” Melissa said. “Especially the parents, because you just can’t send your kids out there, spending this money and all this time driving, just to have them not care and not have them put any kind of effort in there.”

Logan’s favorite part of racing is going fast and getting to ride his bike.

“I like it because you get to ride your bike a lot more,” he said. “If you stare at your bike for a long time you just really want to go to the track. That’s what I do.”

Ella loves the competitiveness of the sport.

“It’s fun, I just like it,” she said. “You get to race people your own age and you get to be competitive.”

Eric said he enjoys watching his children do something they love.

“It’s really about the excitement of the race and then seeing the kids doing something that they like is great,” he said.

The Vermeires said safety is an important aspect of the sport. Melissa puts as much protective gear on her children as she can. But still, accidents, falls and scrapes do happen.

“It’s very scary, I can’t sit still, I pace, I have to be next to them, I just hold my breath until they cross the line,” she said. “It’s my life out there on the track. Their safety for me is just number one.”

But there is no doubt, the Vermeires feel most at home on the track, racing their bikes.

“They’ve never really wanted to do anything else, they just really loved racing,” Melissa said. “They always want to go to the track.”

Ella and Logan will look to defend their titles at the end of September at River Valley BMX in Sumner.

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