Hailed as New Zealand’s ultimate shredder, freestyle BMX maestro Paul Langlands will unleash his repertoire of tricks at the ILT Festival of Speed.
Audiences at the November 7-9 cycling extravaganza should brace themselves to witness adrenalin-pumping backflips, spins, 360s and plenty of “hanging off the bike at funny angles”.
The 21-year-old daredevil is in his element performing on a bike, but he’s happy to leave the traditional stuff to those brave enough to slip into a lycra outfit – like his brother Mark, a member of the Pure Black Racing team which competed admirably in the PowerNet Tour of Southland earlier this month.
“I’ve never even considered lycra,” Langlands said. “They can ride round with their pedals cranking and I’ll be flying upside down through the air.
“I just find the freestyle side of it more fun.”
Currently leading the New Zealand Dirt Jump Series, the Cambridge local has competed extensively around the globe, including the freestyle mecca of the US.
“It’s massive overseas. There’s a lot more people out there pushing it – it’s a bigger industry over there.”
Wheel size doesn’t faze him – he’s been dominating both the BMX and mountain bike scenes since he was a teenage “grommet” (an affectionate term for a young hotshot) and has a raft of titles to his credit.
Tricks are constantly evolving as freestyle enthusiasts continually “push the limits”.
“The aim when you’re out there is to do something bigger and better than the last time you did it,” Langlands said.
“New tricks just come when you’re riding. Or you see what other people are doing and add your own little style to it.”
He was amped about performing in an arena like the ILT Velodrome, which will feature ramps with a gap of about 3m.
“I can’t wait really. Hopefully we’ll be able to use the velodrome as a roll in – that will save us from having to pedal hard out because we’re not as fit as those track guys,” he said.
He was aiming to entice good mate and Southland freestyle legend Brett Frew, of Winton, into joining him to perform.
“I’ll be on the BMX and Brett will be on a mountain bike so it should be a good mix,” Langlands said.
Cycling Southland has secured an impressive line-up of entertainment for the ILT Festival of Speed, including popular music duo The Heartleys performing on the first two nights.
Former Gold Guitar winners, Kayla Mahon and Taylor Cairns, of Gore, recently returned from a stint performing in Europe and were excited about performing on home turf – albeit in a unique venue.
“We’ve never performed in a velodrome before so it will be a new experience for us,” she said. “It’s nice to get involved with all sorts of sporting events and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Tickets to the ILT Festival of Speed, which will feature New Zealand’s elite riders and several Commonwealth Games medallists up against an impressive international contingent, are on sale now.
Each ticket can be entered into the draw to win a trip to the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide in January – the last pro event Lance Armstrong will ride internationally. The package includes flights, accommodation, tickets and, most importantly, VIP viewing of the racing action.