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BMX stars Sarah Walker and Marc Willers are well placed going into tomorrow’s elimination racing in the London Olympic test event.
Walker was sixth fastest and Willers fifth in the qualifying time trials, where they were joined by Tauranga’s Kurt Pickard in an impressive 18th fastest to move through to racing tomorrow in the event that doubles as the third round of the UCI Supercross World Cup.
There was generally good reaction to the contentious new track, which contains new elements including hip jumps (45 deg angle), a standing box jump and also a tunnel for the women.
BikeNZ assistant coach Ryan Hollows said the riders felt it had better flow than the prototype used for the Supercross in the Netherlands where one third of the field did not finish.
Willers, who prefers racing to time trialling, had a clean lap of 44.188 to finish fifth fastest. American Connor Field led the way from Australia’s Sam Willoughby, both former world junior champions.
Pickard, who raced solidly at the recent world champions, again showed his skill to be 18th fastest in 44.790, to move comfortably through to racing tomorrow.
Not so lucky was Cambridge rider Kurt James, who did not advance after finishing 77th of the 131 riders in 47.714, while Pukekohe teenager Trent Woodcock did not recover sufficiently from injuries suffered in winning two silver medals in the elite junior division at the world championships.
Walker looked well in control in the women’s division, riding comfortably through in sixth fastest in 41.474. New world champion Mariana Pajon (COL) was fastest in 38.954 from Australia’s Lauren Reynolds and two time world champion Shanaze Reade (GBR).
Willers and Walker both qualified for the new Super Time Trial but both decided to just cruise around the lap rather than risk injury, saving themselves for tomorrow’s race action.
The men will race three qualifying motos tomorrow ahead of quarterfinals, semifinal and final while the women will compete in three motos, semi and final.
Results, BMX Supercross London, qualifying:
Women, time trial: Mariana Pajon (COL) 38.954, 1; Lauren Reynolds (AUS) 39.768, 2; Shanaze Reade (GBR) 39.876, 3. Also: Sarah Walker (NZL) 41.474, 6.
Super time trial: Magalie Pottier (FRA) 40.126, 1; Reynolds 40.170, 2; Reade 40.309, 3. Also: Walker 46.620, 15.
Men, time trial: Connor Fields (USA) 43.404, 1; Sam Willoughby (AUS) 43.444, 2; Moana Moocaille (FRA) 43.561. Also: Marc Willers (NZL) 44.188, 5; Kurt Pickard (NZL) 44.790, 18; Kurt James (NZL) 47.714, 77.
Super time trial: Willoughby 42.625, 1; Joris Daudet (FRA) 42.767, 2; Andre Sylvain (FRA) 43.317, 3. Willers dnf.