Factory Team Rider / Saya Sakakibara
Welcome to the DK team! Thoughts on being promoted to the full factory squad?
I’m very happy. I’ve been riding their bikes for two years now, and love it! I think DK is a well presented and respected team and I am pleased to be a part of it!
You and your brother Kai have taken BMX racing to the highest levels. How did you arrive at this status?
In any sport hard work is what gets you results and helps reach your goals. Kai and I have had clear goals in which helped push ourselves to become the athletes we are today.
What role has Kai played in your BMX experience?
From a young age Kai had pushed and encouraged me to try new skills and played a major role in becoming the athlete I am today. He has been my role model and my go-to coach for the whole of my career.
Who are your other influences in BMX?
I’ve always looked up to Sarah Walker. I was so inspired by her skills and style on the bike, as well as her successes as an athlete. I also admire her behavior off the track, always smiling and always willing to help in every way she can. Now that I am in the Elite class, it’s an honor to be lining up on the gate with her and hopefully continue to do so for the next years to come.
What is your approach to training and race prep?
I approach training and race prep as a part of my lifestyle; like a routine. Wake up, train, eat, rest, train, eat, and sleep put on repeat until it becomes a nice routine. It keeps me busy and motivated throughout the day, which I love.
How do you prepare mentally for each race?
I just come into any event looking as happy as I possibly can. Even if I’m feeling nervous, I try to keep a smile on my face and talk to people with a happy tone, which hopefully tricks the body into thinking it’s a fun event (which it is). This relaxes me to make me ride the best I can.
Is there a different approach to the first race after a scary crash or injury?
I have been fortunate enough to not have many injuries so far, so I don’t really have much experience. But I don’t think there is a different approach for the first race back. It will always be to go out there, do the best you can and have fun!
Favorite type of riding when you're not at the race track?
Current bike setup?
DK Professional V2 XXL with Box Components, HT pedals, and Michram Industries chainrings.
Goals for the coming seasons?
For the rest of the 2018 season, my goal is to finish in Top-Three in the Overall World Cup ranking. For the next two years leading up to the 2020 Olympic Games, I would like to see myself win World Cup Finals consistently and a World Championships