With 31 Entries in Women Under 23, 64 Entries in Men Under 23 and the Elite classes consisting of 39 Women and 77 Men it shows the importance of BMX racing at this moment as the Olympic qualifying is in full swing. The pressure is on so to say.
Round 7 on Saturday took place in 32 degree heat. With the fans in the stands the qualification rounds made a selection of the fastest athletes of the day. In Elite Men Sylvain André (FRA) and Niek Kimmann (NED) we eliminated in an early stage. It shows that anything can happen in BMX racing even to the more experienced races with lots of titles in their pocket. When the final came around it wasn’t Romain Mahieu with the quickest snap out of the gate but the first couple of spins shot him to the front from start position 4. Even overshooting the first jump did not matter with the speed that the Frenchman had created on the first straight. That holeshot in the first Elite Men final of the 4 stop event gave Mahieu an open path to success but with Joris Daudet behind him there was no room for mistakes. With an 0.008 second difference at the line that white line should not have come any later. The Argentineans got on their feet to see Nicolas Torres (ARG) finish in third and take the final podium spot.
The Elite Women final was once again a battle between Saya Sakakibara (AUS) and current UCI World Champ Bethany Shriever (GBR). With third place going to Felicia Stancil (USA) the two up front made it a great race which also lasted till the very last second. The difference between first and second was just an inch or two, or as the clock indicated, a 32.403s for Beth against a 32.474s for Saya. A small difference in time but a big step on the podium.
In U23 Matéo Colsenet might have had home advantage in Sarrians at UCI World Cup rounds 5 & 6 but Argentinean Thomas Maturano used home advantage to grab the win in SDE. Winning in front of the home crowd is always the best as Thomas found out. Points leader Rico Bearman (NZL) squeezed in for second with Matéo getting 3rd on Saturday. America’s Ava Corley scored a victory in U23 Women, something she had been shooting for. To have this one in the bag will make things easier moving forward. Once you know you can do it, the aim will be the same but the confidence will be higher.
1 Romain MAHIEU FRA
2 Joris DAUDET FRA
3 Nicolas TORRES ARG
1 Thomas Maturano ARG
2 Rico Bearman NZL
3 Matéo Colsenet FRA
1 Ava Corley USA
2 Veronika Sturiska LAT
3 Emily Hutt GBR
When things don’t work out on one day, there’s always the next. Sunday at Round 8 once again over 70 athletes in Elite Men wanted to line up in the final race of the day. Making it through each round gets harder towards the end. This time Simon Marquart (SUI) and Cameron Wood (USA) were racing for the win but once again current UCI World Champ Romain Mahieu grabbed the 500 UCI Ranking points making it a double victory in SDE. Saya Sakakibara changed positions with Beth Shriever on Sunday making it a boyfriend/girlfriend Elite Win at Round 8.
By the time the U23 final rolled down the hill it was Matéo Colsenet who had gotten used to the technical track to grab the win in front of hometown here Thomas Maturano and Czech’s Marek Neuzil. U23 Women had three new podium finishers in Tessa Martinez (FRA), Isabell May (AUS) in 2nd and a bronze spot for McKenzie Gayheart from the USA.
1 Saya SAKAKIBARA AUS
2 Bethany SHRIEVER GBR
3 Axelle ETIENNE FRA
1 Tessa Martinez FRA
2 Isabell May AUS
3 McKenzie Gayheart USA
With a week to spend in Argentina and days to reflect on weekend 1, it will be exciting to see who will have the best game plan for the last two UCI BMX Racing World Cup Rounds of 2023. One thing’s for sure, on the weekend of 14-15 October we will have new UCI World Cup champions in all classes.
Pictures by Craig Dutton / www.craigdutton.com