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BMX stars start champs
- Updated: July 28, 2011
With the first day of the 2011 UCI BMX World Championships behind them in Copenhagen, Denmark, Team South Africa have already secured two world numbers and four semi-finalists.
The 14 and under field was stacked, resulting in a long day on the track. Cycling South Africa’s BMX High Performance Commissioner Kim Stiebel reported back on the challenges and successes of the first day of competition:
“Practice started at 7.30am on Wednesday morning and the finals were completed at around 6pm in the evening on a beautiful hot day here in Copenhagen.
“The morning did not start too well, with Maia Rawlins, who had looked really good in practice, falling heavily in the warm-up after unclipping on the first jump. ┬áAfter some time recovering she was ready for the moto’s, but unfortunately came together with some other riders on the first jump again and fell heavily again ÔÇô she needed to go to the hospital for a scan. Fortunately all is good for her and nothing broken.
“With so many riders and a really small area to accommodate everyone, there was a lot of chaos getting everyone staged and ready to race. Fortunately everything settled down in the day and all ran smoothly so we could focus on having the riders prepared for the racing rather than worrying about missing a race.
“As is to be expected with racing like this at the highest level, some will have good days and some will have bad days. Georgina Grassie was unfortunate to end up on the wrong side of the bubble and did not make the semi finals; Maia was unfortunate with some crashes; Anita Zenani only arrived in the afternoon and had two practice laps on the track before racing. ┬áDespite this, Zenani rode really well but did not advance to the semis. ┬áJason Fanourakis was on the wrong side of the pack in turn one in the 1/8ths finals and went down.
“Someone who was having a great day was Roger Goncalves, who picked up a couple of moto wins and a win in the 1/8th final. Unfortunately in the quarter-final he did not have a great gate, got boxed in and was last, but fought his way through the pack and almost stole fourth on the line.
“With six riders in the semi finals, we had high hopes that all of those riders would appear in the final however, the knockout rounds are always so tough and there are no second chances. Luca Bollea gave it everything and just came up short; Tyrrone Verral was lying comfortably in third going into the second turn, but a rider from Aruba (who was in fifth place) made a crazy high/low move to move up from fifth to third and Tyronne lost his momentum.
“He fought valiantly to almost get back up for the last qualifying spot. Lauren Coetzee narrowly missed out on a transfer position and Kayla was unfortunately boxed in going into the first turn.
“In the finals, Connor Terblanche (who had been doing all the right things all day) had a bad draw to be placed gate eight.┬áHe fought all he could to get across the track, but just had too much work to do. Dylan Eggar was in gate three and came out the gate really well but got boxed on the first jump and had to settle for sxith.
“All in all we can be very proud of how all of our riders performed today.
“Thursday’s racing is for the 15 and overs, and the start of the Elite practices, resulting in an even longer day as the practices are scheduled to finish at 7.30pm. On Friday we have the Elite time trials, with Saturday being the Championship day. Hopefully the weather holds for all of that, although rain is predicted for Saturday.”