Meet Emma Valentine, one of Queensland Country Bank’s Business Analysts in our IT department, who has worked with us for seven years now. At first glance, you might see an energetic, passionate employee, but outside of work, Emma is an avid BMX rider.

Emma’s son began racing in 2020 and after sitting on the sidelines watching him compete, she decided it looked like that much fun that she thought she’d give it a go herself.

“In late 2021, I decided I might as well ride and get some exercise in since I was spending so much time at the track watching anyway. I vowed that it was just for fun and exercise, and that I would definitely not be racing,” Emma said.

Well, Emma’s naturally competitive nature took over and, combined with a bit of encouragement from other riders, she started competing just like her son. In fact, that competitive nature and ‘why not’ attitude convinced Emma to enter the 2022 State Championships, hosted in Cairns.

“Even though I was racing semi regularly at a club level, and in local carnivals, it wasn’t until Cairns hosted the Queensland State Championships in 2022 that I started taking it more seriously.

“That event stands out as one of the highlights of my life. I placed fourth which was far better than I had expected and got to ride with an incredible group of supportive women,” said Emma.

Despite what you might think, Emma swears she still gets quite nervous in the week leading up to the big competitions, like the State Championships. Emma can’t even listen to 'Hells Bells' by ACDC anymore without feeling her pre-competition jitters start up, thanks to the song being blasted to let racers know it’s nearly starting time at larger carnivals and events.

Emma has yet another fantastic achievement to add to her belt, placing third at the 2023 National Championships held in Shepparton, Victoria. But, if you ask her, Emma is quite humble about her achievements! She does believe, though, that choosing to compete in BMX has really pushed her out of her comfort zone.

“It is a pretty extreme sport and so I am definitely proud of myself for giving it a shot and doing something that is equal parts exciting and terrifying,” she said.

So, what’s in store for Emma in 2024? Unfortunately, Emma had quite the crash at a state BMX round in Townsville last year, so as you can imagine, that’s damaged her confidence.

“In 2024, I will only be competing at a local level to keep my skills up. My biggest goal for this year is confidence. I am working on regaining the confidence that I had pre-crash,” she said.

But, that hasn’t stopped Emma from planning for her BMX future – she still has her sights set on getting back to competing in the larger competitions.

“In 2026, Brisbane will be hosting the World BMX Championships, so 2025 will be a big year for training and competing to try and qualify for the World Championships the following year,” she said.

If there’s one thing that can be said about Emma’s story, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying something new is never a bad thing – you could end up doing something you never thought was possible.