heated up the place as soon as the first rider dropped in. Jeffrey Whaley (CAN) squeezed into the top 12 with an action packed run full of energy. It takes the best riding a rider can produce to enter the top ten at a BMX Park event these days. Although leaving 13 riders behind him Jacob Thiem (USA) could not crack into the top 10 and got 11th place. South Americans Gustavo Batista (BRA) and Jose Torres Gil (ARG) both sure know how to pump a ramp. Both riders are flying on a different level on every trick they do. That skill did not get unnoticed by the UCI judges and they were rewarded places 10 and 9. Americans Daniel Sandoval and Justin Dowell tricked themselves to the next two places in the ranking with runs that received lots of response from the Scottish crowd. This British public was clearly enjoying Jude Jones’ second run where he reached a level that he had never reached before including 1080s and front flips with variations to get 6th place in the end. Marin Rantes represented Croatia well with a top 5 with last year’s UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Champion Rim Nakamura (JPN) just missing out on the podium in 4th.
Nick Bruce (USA) has had a year with ups and downs. The hardworking man from Ohio had to overcome injury setbacks and bad luck in competitions to finish on the podium grabbing bronze at Glasgow Green with a run which included a backflip windshield wiper. Olympic champion Logan Martin used his second run to move from place 3 to silver by adding a forward bike flip to his already stacked run. The level today is higher than ever before and riders need to push their personal limits each time they drop-into the ramp hoping for a clean run that will put them on top. Winning in front of your home people is always the best feeling. Kieran Reilly had a dream of doing that in Scotland and it did work out well. But it took banger after banger to get it done. Kieran was seriously on fire and turned the local support into positive energy for the win.
Kieran Reilly: “I’m absolutely overwhelmed honestly, the rain delay making the last two riders to wait was the longest half an hour of my life not knowing where I was because at this event getting a medal was amazing. Getting to wear the jersey is next level. If I would choose a UCI World Championships to win it, it would be this one. All my family drove up for this and they see more than anyone the hard work that goes into this, for them to see me reaping the rewards is amazing.“
Having 5 Chinese riders in the finals in the Women Park class was almost not even a surprise. Their BMX Park program is working well and now that they have Daniel Dhers helping with the planning of their runs, it is even harder to beat the red squad. Places 2 – 6 were all for Chinese riders. The only rider who managed to do better was 4-time UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Champion Hannah Roberts (USA) who had to pull out all stops to claim her 5th rainbow jersey. Backflips, flairs, tailwhips, 360s and variations of all kinds were needed for the win in Women Park. The order of the China squad was as follows; Sun Sibei (2nd) and Zhou Huimin (3rd) made it on the podium and saw their flags being raised at the ceremony but the anthem was for the USA. Fan Zihui and Zheng Qian got 4th and 5th place respectively with Deng Yawen in 6th. It’s the first time we are having such a strong result in BMX Freestyle by the Chinese.
It’s hard to get to the top, but it’s even harder to stay there. Can you confirm?
Hannah Roberts: It is harder to stay at the top. There’s always people pushing to beat you and there are times where motivation runs out so it’s a constant mental battle to keep pushing and progressing as well as outside challenges such as other riders.
If you look at the development of Women Park riding under the UCI since the start 7 years ago, would you have ever believed we would be following a UCI World Cup series, UCI World Champs and ride at the Olympic Games?
Hannah Roberts: When I first stared with the UCI, I never thought BMX would get this big. The support and push for every step is incredible and it gives so many more opportunities!
It seems like direct-competition is coming from an unexpected corner these days (China). Does it motivate you to ride harder?
Hannah Roberts: I’m always excited to keep pushing my riding but I also enjoy seeing the push from other riders and honestly it’s incredible to see all the riders out of China! I don’t know if that specifically makes me ride harder but it definitely inspires me!
Pics by Bart de Jong / @fatbmx