Champs Donny, Sarah in PMB | SASCOC - SASCOC

Champs Donny, Sarah in PMB

BMX Racing, one of the newest Olympic sports, will make its spectacular international debut in Africa on Thursday when the second round of the International Cycling Union’s BMX Supercross World Cup, presented by Swatch, gets underway in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Around 100 riders from 17 countries, including the four current world champions, have gathered for the event. They’ll be chasing the first available qualifying points on offer for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The USA’s Donny Robinson and New Zealand’s Sarah Walker, the two current Elite men and women’s world champions and Australia’s Sam Willoughby and Columbia’s Mariana Pajo, the current Junior men and women’s world champions, top the list of entries.

A notable absentee from the entry list is South African hero, Sifiso Nhlapo, who is still recovering from a fractured neck, suffered in Norway recently. The 2008 World Championship bronze medallist will however be at the event to show his support.

Finishing touches were completed on Wednesday to the temporary super-sized track at the Royal Agricultural Showgrounds in preparation for official practice, which begins at noon on Thursday.

The entire 315 metre long track was covered in plastic sheeting on Wednesday to protect the track from expected light rain. Thankfully only a 30% chance of rain was forecast for Thursday and no rain on Friday and Saturday.

Entry for spectators on Thursday is free, with R20 per person charged for tickets to watch racing action on Friday and Saturday.

The event is a precursor to the 2010 UCI BMX World Championships which will be held in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa next July.

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