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Coquitlam BMX brothers push each other at the track — even as one recovers from a huge crash

Coquitlam's Connor Brereton-Stiles finished eighth in his age category at the UCI BMX world championships in South Carolina.

A pair of young Coquitlam cyclists are pushing each other to the top of their sport, even as one recovers from a devastating injury.

Connor Brereton-Stiles, 14, recently finished eighth in his age category at the UCI BMX racing world championships in Rock Hill, S.C.

The result bettered his performance at last September’s worlds in Glasgow, Scotland, where he placed in the top 20 but failed to qualify for the main final.

It also matched the result in Glasgow of his older brother, Dallen, who raced to eighth place as a 14-year-old himself.

“I was pretty pumped,” said Connor of keeping pace with his sibling.

But Dallen wasn’t with him in Rock Hill. 

A week prior to heading to South Carolina, he crashed while training, sustaining head and neck injuries so severe he had to spend a spell in a hospital's ICU.

It was a tough blow for 15-year-old Dallen, who joined Team Canada shortly after he returned from Glasgow, doubling his time commitment and effort at the track.

“It was really disappointing to not get on that plane,” he said. “There is so much work that is put into getting ready for an event at this level so I was feeling defeated.”

Connor said he also felt the absence of his brother, whom he followed into the sport when he wasn’t even yet three years old and travels with to competitions in Pitt Meadows, Langley, Surrey, the North Shore and Abbotsford, as well as across Canada and the United States.

“It was tough,” he said. “We always discuss track lines and bounce riding options off each other so it was a little different not having that component.”

Rather than letting it get him down, though, Connor said he used Dallen’s misfortune to push his own effort.

“It gave me the motivation to do as well as possible for him.”

Connor said the short turn-around time of just eight months between the two world championships and accelerated preparation schedule helped build his mental fortitude.

“I participated in a number of big events where I was able to practise remaining calm while under pressure,” he said.

Dallen said prior to his accident he also felt he was in a good place to improve his standing at this year’s worlds.

“I had been putting in the hours on and off the track to try to be the best I could,” he said, adding he “was feeling pretty confident about Rock Hill.”

Now the brothers have their sights set on getting ready for next year’s world championships, to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark in July and August.

“Taking this learning and experience, I think will help me in future races,” Connor said.

Dallen added not being able to race in Rock Hill has ramped up his desire to do well in Denmark.

“Having had this time off my bike has shown me just how much I love to be on my bike.”