Toni James

10 things you didn't know about Toni James

13 December 2018 - Blog by The Team at Gull

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1. She's been racing BMX since she was 3

Not many kids start racing BMX when they're pre-schoolers, but Toni wanted to follow her brother into riding. 'My parents thought it was a good way to vent his energy,' she says. She's been a part of the Waitakere BMX Club in Auckland ever since and is already a life member – at the ripe old age of 23!

2. Her “real” job is a bike mechanic

Given she spends so much time riding bikes for fun (and in competition), it's natural that Toni knows quite a bit about pedal-powered two-wheelers. 'I build and fix bikes for a living,' she says. All that knowledge sure must help when things go wrong with her or teammates' race bikes.

 Toni Karate
3. She's also a karate champion

Toni also got into karate through her brother and is a 10-time national champ in the Go-Kan-Ryu (GKR) karate style. At once stage, she was ranked as high as 3rd in the world in the open category.

The 1st dan black belt has never had to use her martial arts' skills to defend herself, though the school bully once tried to get her to fight. Luckily for them, Toni saw the humorous side: 'I just kept stepping back, laughing,' she says. 'It was a funny sight to see because the bully almost fell over.

4. She helps out on a speedway racing team

Outside of BMX and karate, Toni main hobby is helping the Baker Racing Three Quarter Midget team based at Auckland's Western Springs Speedway. 'Those guys are legends,' she says.

It's a family affair, as Toni's dad has crewed on the Baker race cars ever since Toni was a toddler. She's known her partner for that long, too. He's one of the Baker family.

5. She has 4 go-to dinners and rotates them

'I'm too lazy to come up with more,' says Toni, forgetting about how busy her training and racing schedule is. 'Steak & salad, chicken & salad', but she's not saying what the other two are. Maybe she's keeping them under wraps for an upcoming feature in a food magazine.

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6. Her all-time favourite meal is lasagne

Toni loves pasta in all shapes and sizes, but it's good old lasagne that tops her list. 'It's the best.'

You won't find her putting beetroot anywhere near her plate, as it's the one vegetable she really doesn't like. And no fish or seafood either, thanks. 'It's just not for me,' she says.

2018 BMX WC

7. She always has bagels and cream cheese on race day

While some people might put their gloves or socks on in a special order, Toni's only pre-race ritual is eating the same breakfast: cream cheese on bagels. 'I don't actually think it's a performance enhancer, but it just tastes so good!'

Between races, Toni's go-to snacks are bananas and wine gums. 'I don't like to eat too much on race day,' she says. 'But after, I'll eat anything that's around. I'm so hungry by then!'

8. Don't ask her to dance

Toni really doesn't like to dance. In fact, she rates it as one thing she just won't do. 'You'll probably never see me on the dance floor,' she says. 'I'm so bad.'

9. She's been to only one concert in her life

When it comes to music, Toni is a fan of rap, but it wasn't a big-name rap artist she went to see the one time she attended a live show. It was Coldplay. 'It was only because my friend bought me a ticket,' she says, laughing. 'They're all good though.'

Toni James Bike Black

10. Her
favourite colour isn't in the rainbow

Some may say that black technically isn't a colour (it's the absence of colour), but Toni rates it as her favourite. 'It's just that everything looks good with black,' she says.
It hasn't always been this way. Back when she was younger, Toni says: 'orange was the go'.

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