Walking the halls of Jordan High School, Alex Clift might seem like any other student. He is involved in Beetdigger athletes and is in several school clubs.
But after school and on weekends, the 16-year-old sophomore is making a name for himself nationally on the BMX circuit, racing bicycles against some of the top dirt riders in the nation.
“I’m really just a kid on a bike,” Clift said humbly. “It’s something I like to do. I have a lot of fun with it and have been able to experience the nation.”
Clift, son of Chris and Krista Clift, won his division championship in races held in September in Reno, Nev. The win sent him on to the Grand Nationals in November in Tulsa, Okla., where he finished fifth in the national race, and took home a fourth place in the Race of Champions, a featured event at the nationals.
Clift has won several divisional and state championships in his career, as well as being the Western Divisional Champion and finishing in the top 10 nationally three times.
“Each race has two qualifying rounds,” he said. “Then you go into the quarterfinals, the semifinals and finally, the championship race. Your overall finishes in each race add up to determine the winner.”
He is also proving he is consistent in his riding abilities. In a recent race in Las Vegas, Clift finished in the top five in three of his four races.
Clift has had the opportunity to race not only across the United States, but in Canada as well. He is now on a factory team, Extreme Team BMX, which helps him travel to the different races. Not bad for someone who picked up the sport just as something fun to do.
“My dad took me out to the track and let me watch some races that came into town when I was young,” Clift said. “I was 9 years old and was fascinated. So I starting getting into it, and the older I got, the more racing I wanted to do.”
“I saw a flyer and thought he might like seeing the national tour stop that came to Salt Lake City,” his father Chris said. “It was something I had done as a kid, and I wanted to see if he liked it. I never thought it would grow to this level.”
Clift isn’t just a bicycle athlete, however. He plays on the Jordan High School golf team as well as the tennis team. He also is involved in Jordan’s Health Club and Future Doctors of America.
But when he is out of school, you can usually find him on his bike.
“I practice for four or five hours at a time,” Clift said. “It is harder to practice in the winter, but I find other ways to improve my abilities.”
Now that BMX has been added to the Olympics, Clift has his eyes set on representing the United States.
“I see myself racing for several more years and see how far I can get. The Olympics is where I want to be.”