BMX Australia press release
Caroline Buchanan and Lauren Reynolds have given Australia a one-two finish in the Elite Women’s Final of the 2013 UCI BMX World Championships in Auckland today.
The pairing were the only two Aussie riders to step onto the podium in the Elite classes in a day of upsets where most of the favourites crashed out of contention, unable to stay upright on the tight course inside Vector Area. Perhaps in the greatest twist of irony, one of the loudest voices of complaint about the track, New Zealand’s Marc Willers finished second in the Elite Men’s final despite calling the track an embarrassment earlier in the week.
Sam Willoughby lead a wave of disappointment as he got caught in an accident in turn one coming off the bike and finishing fifth in his quarter final and out of the path to the semi’s. From there the big names tumbled; Connor Fields, yesterdays Time Trial winner –out, Maris Strombergs, dual Olympic BMX gold medalist – out; Nic Long from the US – out.
Although the men struggled to stay upright and on their bikes, Caroline and Lauren evaded trouble all day. Lining up on the gate Buchanan was in lane one next to the favourite and 2012 gold medalist Marianna Pajon of Colombia, Reynolds on the other hand was at the opposite side of the gate in the much-unwanted outside lanes.
Despite the favouritism of Pajon, Buchanan shot out of the gate ahead of her rival giving her a clean break to the first turn while Reynolds slotted through the field to be in third. Alise Post of the US hung close to Buchanan down the second and third straights but Buchanan had the lead and that was the way it would remain to the end.
“When it comes to finals you’ve got to release the mongrel and get aggressive. I just wanted to get out front and stay out of trouble,” said Buchanan.
The disappointment of the Olympics was factor they weighed on her mind as she spoke to the media after the race.
“I’ve put myself under the pump this year; for any one who knows me, I think you hit rock bottom and you find out what you’ve got to do and I’m glad I’ve pulled it all back together.”
“It’s a breath of fresh air for me; I’ve never been in the final for the elite at a world championships – I’ve turned it around.”
For Reynolds, she was in a battle to maintain third with Manon Valentino of France hot on her heels. Disaster would then strike Post who looked to have 2nd place sealed until she unclipped giving her no control of the bike allowing Reynolds to pass into second place and Valentino for third.
“My goal was to just to race as well as I know I can. Not to put too much pressure on myself but just to perform like I want to and definitely top three is always on the cards and always a goal, yeah so second, I’ll take it,” Reynolds said.
“My training went perfectly to plan. We spent two weeks on the gold coast on our super cross track and I’ve been racing in America a lot earlier this year so I’ve had plenty of race experience and I did some fine touches on the big wheel before we came over so yeah I can’t complain. It’s all good.
“Racing in New Zealand is just like home so I love it. The crowd was awesome, the kiwis and the Aussies got behind me so I absolutely love it and I love coming over here, and it’s just like home so it’s good.”
Whilst Sam Willoughby failed to progress from the quarter final, Josh Callan found himself on the final gate with the likes of Liam Phillip (GBR), Tory Nyhaug (CAN), Barry Nobles (USA) and Marc Willers. Callan looked to have missed the gate somewhat but with the carnage that had been unfolding in turn one, he wasn’t out of the equation just yet.
Surprisingly, the earlier mess of turn one failed to eventuate and the lead group pulled further away. Unable to recover from his start Callan finished in 6th place ahead of Yoshitaku Nagasako and Barry Nobles.
After finishing on the podium in the Super Time Trial, Rachel Jones had a day she would rather forget crashing in 2 of her 3 motos and unable to make the final. In the Junior Men, Max Cairns and Tristyn Kronk finished 6th and 7th respectively.
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