Lowery, a 15-year old sophomore at Wasatch High School is the top BMX Expert Class racer in his age group in the state of Utah.
Last month, the teen who resides with his parents in Heber, reached a pinnacle in his young career by winning the Utah State BMX Championships held in Salt Lake City. It was an amazing accomplishment for Lowery, but one that was not a huge surprise to those who know him. The kid is a natural on a racing bicycle.
Though he had been a top rider since he first took to a bike when he was nine-years old, Lowery’s future as a champion was in doubt after he suffered a bad elbow injury on August 21, 2012.
“Oh I remember the day very well,” stated his mother, Wendy Lowery. “Even though it was a biking injury that you sort of get used to, it doesn’t make it any less scary as a parent.”
Lowery was riding down the hill in Timberlakes on that late August afternoon and was approaching a ninety degree turn when a truck coming up the hill went to pass a lumber truck on that same blind corner.
Billy was forced off the road and crashed. Neither driver stopped to help. He managed to get his back pack off to get his phone to call for help.
Billy called his father, who was in Heber, and he quickly arrived and took his son to the hospital.
Lowery had a broken right elbow and a broken big toe and was covered in road rash.
He had surgery on August 23 , which should have been the first day of his Freshman year.
After surgery where six screws and a metal plate were inserted to hold together an elbow that had completely snapped, the young racer knew he had a long road of recovery ahead before he would ever ride—let alone compete, again.
The long road back to the track began with rehabbing Lowery’s surgically repaired elbow. The young racer’s parents found personal trainer Tasha Larsen and her gym, The Underground Barbell Club, tucked away in a warehouse in Heber.
“We knew we had to find someone to build Billy back up,” said his father, Bill. “Not just his elbow, but his mind. He was down. It would have been easy for him to give up after such a devastating injury.”
Three months of intense physical therapy to strengthen Lowery’s arm turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It has now been over a year and the young biker is better than ever.
“I wanted to make Billy stronger overall,” explained Larsen. “Once we got the elbow working, we kept going. We worked on his core balance, core strength. I had him doing a lot of speed training. These are all things that have helped his overall explosive power—which I’ve found out, since I’ve watched a few races, that you really need to have.”
Lowery, who is 5’ 6” and 145 lbs is an ideal build for BMX racing, especially now that he’s dropped 12% body fat. That size may seem small in other competitive sports, but in bicycle racing it can be an advantage. Being in tremendous shape and having strength of mind to overcome obstacles are all things he’s gotten from working with Larsen.
“Legs, for sure, is the thing you need to be strongest,” said Lowery. “But, yeah… my whole upper body is a lot stronger now. It’s really helped me a lot.”
“I still don’t have full range of motion in my elbow. Like, I can’t straighten it out all the way… but it feels strong,” he added.
Lowery has ridden his bike in several races since making his comeback after the injury. He has finished at or near the top in all of them, making him the number one rated BMX racer in his age group.
The 15-year old is ranked number one and is just a victory away from earning his NAG Plate, which is a national award given to top racers in their age group.
Once Lowery reaches that goal, turning professional with sponsorships won’t be far behind.
“I’d love to ride pro,” he said modestly. “I’ve loved racing ever since my friend introduced me to it in St. George when I was nine. I just want to keep going and getting better.”
Next up for Billy is the Grand Nationals on Thanksgiving weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“We make it a family trip,” explained Billy’s father, who builds all of his racing bikes. “We all support Billy and what he’s trying to do, so we just enjoy the time and get the most out of it.”
The Lowerys would like to see BMX racing gain more popularity in Wasatch County. With so many young boys and girls out riding bikes, Bill thinks it would grow to be a fun and popular activity for area kids.
“If we could get a piece of land where we could layout a track strictly for BMX, I know it would grow,” Bill stated.
Until then, the Lowerys will take their show on the road. And as far as necessary to get the kid to the top in the nation.