Witnessed by a sell-out crowd, home favourite Shanaze Reade (GBR) dominated the final of the London round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup. In the menâs competition, Marc Willers (NZL) was first to cross the finish line in the third stop of the Supercross series which was held at Londonâs Olympic Park.
It was a tough day for all the riders, organisers and track builders, with rain delaying racing until approximately 5pm. The 64 Elite Men and 32 Elite Women started practice as scheduled before the rain-forced interruption of some three hours.
The sky cleared completely and the sun came out for Reade and Willers but also for the enthusiastic crowd that refused to go home. Englandâs capital provided perfect conditions as even the wind died down to create an historic BMX race on the Olympic BMX track.
Qualifications: no room for error
There was no room for error in the qualification round: due to time restraints the racing went straight into elimination mode, with the best four from each heat qualifying for the next round. Do or die.
Shanaze Reade was extremely happy to be able to win in front of her home crowd. âThis gives me confidence. The British crowd made racing so much easier. I have never experienced such a big and enthusiastic crowd. The whole day was an emotional roller coaster. Eventually the sun came out. But this is England and we have to deal with it. We all handled it well. It is great to win one year ahead of the Olympics on this track.â
In the menâs final, Willers won the hole shot and was leading until the crossover in the second straight. On the Red Bull jump Sam Willoughby (AUS) and World Champion Joris Daudet (FRA) passed the New Zealander on either side. But in the rhythm section Willers showed his magic and caught up again. He led through the last turn and continued to claim victory.
Marc Willers: âflashback of Worldsâ
Marc Willers was all smiles. âIt was tough with the delays. But I thought about Papendal where the conditions were just as bad. I knew I had it in me as I did in Holland. When I saw Sam (Willoughby) on the inside and Joris (Daudet) passing me, I had flashbacks of the Worlds. But I kept my head and kept my line.â
The London track features some unique innovations such as the radical âOakley Undergroundâ, a tunnel where the women drop in and pop out on the other end while the men have to master the exciting Red Bull jump. There is some discussion about the innovations as some riders like Willers favour the typical BMX track.
âBut you can make your move on this track,â he conceded. âAnd surprisingly everybody stayed up.â