2022 BMX Freestyle Nationals
National Championships

Benegas & Christopher Take Home BMX Freestyle National Titles

By: Tom Mahoney  May 20, 2022

Both riders earned career first national championship wins at Woodward PA campus.

On Friday, the top American BMX Freestyle competitors gathered at the beautiful Woodward PA campus to battle for the stars-and-stripes. The event comes shortly after USA Cycling and Woodward signed a multi-year deal for Woodward to become the host of the USA Cycling National Team and Olympic Development Academy.

Fifteen contestants over the Elite Men’s and Women’s categories dropped in to the course on Friday afternoon. The Elite Men kicked off the competition with two heats of qualifications to narrow the field to the top eight riders. Marcus Christopher (Canton, Ohio), Justin Dowell (Virginia Beach, Va.; Hyper BMX), and Brian Fox (Commerce, Ga.; Woodward Camp) were the top riders coming out of the qualifications.

The event then turned its attention to the Elite Women’s finals in a stacked field. Competitors included Hannah Roberts (Buchanan, Mich.; Hyper BMX), the reigning World Champion and Olympic Silver Medalist, and Perris Benegas (Reno, Nev.; Haro BMX), a former World Champion. In the end, Benegas came away with the victory, scoring 70.42 points in her final run. Her ride was full of great speed and power when paired with her excellent choice and amplitude, locked in her win. Roberts suffered a crash in her first run, damaging her shoulder, but rallied in her second and put in a solid run.

Upon learning of her win, Benegas was shocked, thinking that her training partner Roberts had clinched the victory with her final ride. The win is her first competition since taking part in the Tokyo Games last summer. “This was my first National Title and… I’m kind of speechless. It just feels good to be riding again, especially, after shoulder surgery.”

The Elite Men’s final was incredibly close, with less than two points separating the top four riders. Christopher continued his top-tier performance from the qualifiers, landing on the podium’s top step. His rides were exciting and consistent, with his best tricks including a triple down whip transfer, a no-handed 360 backflip, a flair double down whip, and a 540 flair. Woodward Camp rider Fox, Daniel Sandoval (Corona, Calif.; Free Agent Bikes), and former World Champion Dowell placed second through fourth respectively and separated by less than a point in a nail-biting final.

Christopher gives a lot of credit for his current ability. He said, “It feels great. I really didn’t know what place I got. I landed a little sketchy, but it was still what I wanted, and I was really happy to put it down. I guess I got first place, and I’m happy with it. I came [to Woodward PA] for camp like five years in a row. I had guys that were here watching as instructors, and I’ve just been here every year since I was nine years old, so just to come back after getting second place at the last one, it felt good to win.”