Dave van der Burg (NED), Sylvain André (FRA), Romain Mahieu (FRA), last year’s U23 World Champion Leo Garoyan (FRA), and 2022 UCI Elite World Champ Simon Marquart (SUI) all winning their race. This would have been an amazing final already but to make it to the podium three more races had to go well for all of them.
Latvia’s Veronika Sturiska has been making moves in the U23 class at the 2023 UCI BMX Racing World Cups but is still entitled to race the Junior Women class. Her day on Sunday started off well with a win in the ¼ final and semi-final. Ava Corley (USA) and Leila Walker (NZL) were not going to give up easily in the final but Veronika’s domination was real and the first BMX Racing rainbow jersey of the day went to the Latvian and well deserved. Jason Noordam (NED) arrived as a title favourite and won all races including the ¼ Junior Men final despite a short preparation time because of a broken collarbone. With Jason and Thomas Maturano (ARG) both winning the semi-final, the two had to battle it out in the final race of the day. Jason’s luck ended in the final with a crash leaving the top two spots to Argentina. Thomas took the gold with fellow countryman Federico Capello in second and Italy’s Tommaso Frizzarin accepting bronze.
New Zealand’s Megan Williams set the fastest time in Round 1 of the U23 women class and showed why she made the far travel to Glasgow. She wanted that rainbow jersey badly but competition for her comes from all corners of the world. Manuela Martinez Agudelo (COL), Tessa Martinez (FRA), Carly Kane (USA), Aiko Gommers (BEL), Michelle Wissing (NED) and home rider Emily Hutt (GBR) were all looking fast in the early stages of the race. When the gate dropped for the final Emily Hutt got herself in a great position but ended up 0.117s short of the gold. Tessa Martinez (FRA) got the job done with Megan Williams scoring a third place in Glasgow.
New Zealand’s Rico Bearman spent some time in Europe in preparation of the UCI World Championship race in Glasgow. It was clear that the New Zealander was fast, but meeting up with the fastest U23 riders of the world winning is easier said than done. Filib Steiner (SUI) showed a faster time on the clock than Rico in the ¼ final for instance and so did Mateo Colsenet from France with Australian Jesse Asmus winning the 4th quarter with a time just slightly slower than Rico’s. With the final 8 lining up for the final race of the day it was actually these athletes that ended up in the top 4. It was not Rico Bearman winning the World’s as he finished 3rd behind Mateo Colsenet and new 2023 U23 UCI World Champion Filib Steiner.
After the first athletes were already eliminated through Round 1 and the Last Chance Qualifier, the remaining Elite Women had more racing to do to get to the podium. In quarter final heat 1 the Smulders sisters put a 1 – 2 finish on the board but home favourite Bethany Shriever (GBR) clocked a faster time than both of them in Heat 2. Mariana Pajon (COL) and Saya Sakakibara (AUS) claimed the wins in the quarter finals with defending UCI Elite World champion Felicia Stancil getting through to the semi in 2nd place. Remember, only the result of the final really matters but first you need to get there. It was clear that Bethany Shriever was on a different level at the Glasgow BMX Center. She proved that in the final by getting a great start from lane 1 and hold onto the lead till the very end giving GBR the Elite BMX title they wanted. Laura Smulders passed Alise Willoughby on the last straight to get 2nd while Alise managed to hold on to third for the last spot on the podium, not bad for the 32 years old American.
Home advantage for Kye Whyte almost ended in the quarter final as he made it through in 4th . GBR’s Ross Cullen and Paddy Sharrock also managed to make it to the semi- finals as the grandstands exploded. With 4 French riders (Daudet/Pilard/Mayet/Mahieu) winning all quarter finals it was another sign of what was to come. After the semi-final it was clear that France is the leading country in BMX Racing at the moment. 5 French Elite racers made it to the final 8 with Ross Cullen representing GBR, Carlos Ramirez doing it for Colombia and Nicholas Torres representing Argentina. But the French TGV train kept running up front in the final race of the day. Third cabin was for BMX veteran Joris Daudet who finished a strong racing weekend in 3 rd just behind Arthur Pilard who was just 0.142s short of the UCI Elite Men World Championship title. The win was for Romain Mahieu, also from France, who has had his best Elite season in 2023.
Photos by Bart de Jong / @fatbmx