April 20, 2015 (Manchester, UK) – Great Britain’s Liam Phillips was the favourite athlete going into the first race of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup season on his home track in Manchester. He had won the two previous UCI BMX Supercross World Cup events in 2013 and 2014 and had just raked up the time trials superfinals the night before. In BMX anything can happen but the Brit was mentally strong and did not lose a race all day.
When he crossed the finish line in first he had a two second lead over Frenchman Amidou Mir (2nd) who was followed by Nic Long (USA) who grabbed the third place podium spot. Caroline Buchanan (AUS) had pointed out she liked the indoor track in England and wanted to put in a good race early on in the season. The Aussie won in front of a charging Alise Post (2nd) and Stefany Hernandez (VEN) crossed the finish line in third place.
New bikes, new teams, new riders, new season
The first race of the year brought the fastest racers to British Cycling’s indoor facility and the heat was on from the beginning. The motos were stacked with athletes from all over the world and making it to the next round required three good laps on the fantastic indoor track which saw some changes over the past winter. The split third straight was a new feature and exciting for the big crowd to follow the riders through the big roller sections.
Team captains had selected their talents to be part of the first UCI World Cup race of 2015. Some countries also brought their up and coming riders to give them an experience to race with the best of the best. Being the first race meant the riders had brought their new bikes and were wearing their fresh new racing gear for 2015 to score valuable points for their home country in the lead up to the 2016 Olympic Games.
With the time trials superfinals and qualifying races of the previous day, Manchester had received a taste of BMX racing at the highest level already. Time trials winners Liam Phillips (GBR) and Caroline Buchanan (AUS) were now mixed in together with 7 other athletes on the 8 meter starting hill to hit the 11 meter first jump at full speed. A total of 64 men and 32 women had the same goal of making it to the final at the end of the day but making it through to the final 8 doesn’t always come easy.
Buchanan continues where she left off in Women category
Standouts in qualifying were Brooke Crain (USA), Caroline Buchanan and Mariana Pajon (COL) as they won their three heats and transferred to the semi. Felicia Stancil (USA) had also found her way around the track nicely and had an easy transfer to the next round. In the semi finals Stancil finished fifth and was out for the final. When the gate dropped in the final the crowd got behind the girls. It was Mariana Pajon who had a bad first straight where she unclipped on the first jump and couldn’t make her way back to the front where Caroline Buchanan, Alise Post (USA) and Stephfany Hernandez crossed the finish line in that order with the current Olympic Champion getting 4th.
The indoor facility erupted when the gate dropped in the Elite Men final. All eyes were on home favourite Liam Phillips. The Olympian and 2014 UCI World Cup winner took just 28.602 seconds to secure his place on the top of the podium. Frenchman Amidou Mir started from the outside lane number 8 where Liam had picked the inside on lane number one. Britain’s Tre Whyte had a great first straight. Joris Daudet, France, did not get the start he wanted, while Twan van Gendt, Netherlands, went down in the first straight. Unfortunately Tre Whyte went down in the 2nd turn and soon after him, Sam Willoughby went over the front of his bars with a speed wobble as he entered the tricky 3rd rhythm section. Mir found a second gear and went past Nick Long (USA) in 2nd and that’s the way it stayed to the finish line.
Next stop: Papendal, Netherlands, 9 – 10 May 2015.
Manchester full results and standings here.