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New Zealand’s world number one ranked BMX star Marc Willers is ready to break his world championship hoodoo in Copenhagen today.
Willers heads the biggest ever BikeNZ elite team alongside 2009 world champion Sarah Walker for the championships that begin with the qualifying time trials today ahead of Saturday’s elimination rounds.
The 25-year-old US-based rider has been among the form riders in the world this year, winning the Supercross World Cup at Papendal as well as the Continental titles in North America and Oceania while he has a healthy lead in the ABA National Series.
However the world championships have been without fortune for the New Zealander, who is based in the BMX stronghold of Murrieta in southern California. He was sixth back in 2005 in Paris and missed the 2006 championship with injury. However since then he has met with misfortune, crashing out in the round of eight in 20097, in the quarterfinals in 2008 and 2009 and the final last year while leading.
After recovering from shoulder surgery, Willers has found his way since the move to California, and with it a new-found confidence. He gave the Copenhagen track the thumbs-up after the first practice session.
“The track is actually really good. We have raced on this basic layout for the last four years here and it has been fine-tuned a little bit. The surface is like concrete, it is super-fast right now and it will be an excellent track to race on,” Willers said.
“It is the different end of the scale from the last World Cup in Holland. This one we will get some good clean racing, make some moves without having to worry about someone blowing up. I love this track.”
The holeshot out of the gate will still be imperative, said Willers.
“The key will still be to get out front first and keeping smooth. It is a good horsepower first straight. It is quite technical but it still flows well. It’s a matter of keeping your head on.”
Willers is not expecting any one to come out of right field this weekend.
“The top guys throughout the year in USA and Europe are the same top guys in the Supercross series. So I am expecting the same five or so who have been consistently in the mains. Apart from Maris (Strombergs) coming back you probably can’t expect anyone else to come from nowhere and blast everyone.”
He is confident about his chances to realise a lifetime dream in Copenhagen.
“This is definitely my number one goal. The world championship has always been my life dream even before the Olympics were announced. I want to do it and before the Olympics
“I am feeling really good about this weekend. Coming into the big races you have your doubts if you have done everything right, but getting that first practice under my belt it felt perfect and I can’t wait for racing.
There are three former world champions in the field with two-time defending champion Strombergs (LAT, returning from long term injury and American veterans Bubba Harris and Donny Robinson. Others expected to be prominent include Americans Denzel Stein, Mike Day, Kyle Bennett, Nic Long and Corben Sharrah and Australian Khalen Young and Europeans including Damien Godet (FRA), Raymon van der Biezen (NED) and Jelle van Gorkum (NED).