Jenna Byrnes has only been riding for two and a half years but she is already making waves, and has just become the first South African Female BMX Rider to Land a Backflip!
Johannesburg, South Africa (09 June 2022) – 15-year-old Jenna Byrnes made history at the recent Park Lines BMX Tournament by becoming South Africa’s first female to land a Backflip.
With over 50 riders competing through the Amateur and Pro divisions at the 2022 Park Lines BMX Tournament, Byrnes – who was competing in her first BMX contest – was the only female entry in the competition. And the young South African did not disappoint. Byrnes made history by becoming the first South African female rider to land a backflip and placed 5th in the Amateur division.
LW Mag caught up with the talented rider
How would you best sum up your experience at Park Lines 2022?
Park Lines was my first BMX competition, and it was definitely one to remember. It was an insane day watching some mind-blowing BMX riding. I met so many new people, and it was so nice to have a skatepark full of BMX riders!
What was your highlight moment of the day, and why?
Definitely my Backflip. It was my first ever attempt to concrete, and doing it in a skatepark has been something I have been wanting to try. It was such a sick vibe, and I had to try one.
Coming into the contest, what were your expectations and were they reached?
My expectations were to do decently well, which I definitely reached. When I first saw the park I wanted to do a Backflip somewhere, but I had no clue where I would even try one. I also wasn’t expecting to come 5th in Amateurs, which is just the cherry on top.
How does it feel, and what does it mean to you to be the first female in South Africa to land a backflip?
Honestly it feels unreal. It definitely means a lot to me because ever since I started riding, the Backflip had been my dream trick. I hope it inspires other girls to start BMXing!
What was it like to ride the legendary Stoneridge park?
It was such an awesome experience to ride such a well-built skatepark. It is definitely a lot bigger than the one here in PE. The flow at Stoneridge is unreal, and I could ride it all day.
Which riders impressed you the most and why?
Definitely Vin (Leygonie), it was my first time watching him ride in person, and he threw down some massive stunts. He also has a really nice style, which makes it look so much better. Seeing the overseas riders Jak (Tones) and Greg (Illingworth) was also really cool. They also threw some bangers down.
What do you feel an event like Park Lines does for BMX in South Africa, and where would you like to see it go?
It was such a well-run event; I feel like it inspires people to start BMXing. I would definitely like to see more riders in the future, which I’m sure there will be. It is such a nice opportunity to meet other riders with the same goals as you; they help push you and become a better rider. I feel like it will help the sport grow so much more as the riders finally have a completion to work towards winning.
What would you like to see added to the next Park Lines BMX Tournament?
I would definitely like to see some smaller ramps as that’s what I’m used to [laughs]. But, in all seriousness, it was such a well-run event, I wouldn’t change a thing!
What’s next for Jenna Byrnes?
The plan is to go and race the UCI Downhill MTB World Champs next year. I would love to get some BMX riding in while I’m overseas as well. As of right now, the plan is to just keep riding every day and keep progressing.
I would just like to thank Dragon Energy, without them, this wouldn’t have been possible. And, a massive thanks so Fox Racing for keeping me safe with all my gear!