Three young Lancashire biking champions are gearing up to beat the best in the world.
The talented primary school pupils from Penwortham and Chorley are preparing to represent Great Britain on the global stage in an action-packed BMX bike event next week.
The youngsters are all current Scottish champions but 11-year-old Lauren Anyon, 11-year-old Mathew Gilston and eight-year-old Lily Brindle are aiming for more glory as they compete in the junior BMX World Championships in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.
Lauren, who studies at St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Primary School in Penwortham, has had a meteoric rise.
The youngster only joined Preston Pirates BMX club two years ago and she is prepared for her next major challenge.
She said: “I’m looking forward to competing. I race against girls that are my age from across the world.
“I want to win. Everyone has been training really, really hard over the last few months, it would mean so much to me to win.”
The trio have just come back from the European championship in Denmark and their success against Europe’s top talent has boosted their chances.
Lauren competed against the European number one and the world number two in the semi-final and she finished fourth overall, a result that has given her confidence. She said: “I was really happy to reach the final in Denmark, I was in a really tough group and I was racing against some of the best riders in Europe.”
Mathew, from Charnock Richard, brought home Team GB’s best result by finishing third in the event and Lily marked her first European event by finishing sixth in the final.
Lauren, who is aiming to compete in a future Olympic games, credits the team effort for the three Preston Pirates members’ success.
She said: “We have a great team spirit, we all support each other and want each other to do well.
“I got into BMX riding two years ago. I was out with my dad and I spotted the BMX track, I said I wanted to give it a go and the rest is history.”
Her dad Neil hailed the youngsters’ efforts.
He said: “It is a massive achievement.
“They have all worked so hard and hopefully we can win in Holland.
“They will be competing against top riders from Argentina, Columbia and Australia.
“I didn’t expect much last weekend as she was in a really tough group but as soon as she puts the GB shirt on she turns into a different girl – when she represents her country she is unstoppable.”