The planet’s best BMX riders will gather as one when this year’s world championships get underway in Baku tomorrow afternoon (our time) and there will be a distinct Australian flavor.
Dozens of parents and team officials have made the long journey to the Azerbaijan capital to support our 101 riders for what is shaping as a wonderful five-day celebration of BMX racing.
First up on Tuesday (from 1530 AEST) will be the cruiser events with 33 Aussies in action including Thomas Tucker in the boy’s 13&14 years event. Tucker will be aiming to replicate his victory last year in the 12 & under category.
On Wednesday afternoon (from 1530 AEST) it will be the rising stars of the sport on show in the boy’s and girl’s 20” events for competitors 12 and under, with Australia again represented by 33 riders.
Thursday (from 1530 AEST) will see the rest of the challenge classes, with 46 Australian riders set to line up on the gate across various ages.
Included in that group are two riders looking to retain their W1 plates – Tucker, who will be looking to claim another 20” crown and make it an incredible sixth straight world title in his age group, and Gian Renato, who will race in the boy’s 14yrs event.
Bailey Mills (10yrs boy’s) and Kira Hill (14yrs girl’s) both won silver in 2017 and will be looking to take that step to the top of the dais, while Cameron Gatt (10yrs boy’s) and Portia Eden (11yrs girl’s) are others hoping to follow up medal winning performances from last year.
The elite events will take place on Friday and Saturday nights (local Baku time), with action kicking off at 0240 AEST on Saturday and Sunday and concluding around 5am AEST each day.
Australia will have six riders in the elite men’s event, three in the elite women’s competition, three in the junior elite men’s and two in junior women’s.
Leading the way in the elite categories will be Olympians Lauren Reynolds and Anthony Dean, alongside siblings Kai and Saya Sakakibara, who are currently Australia’s highest placed riders on the international rankings – both at tenth.
Beijing Olympian and Australia’s national team manager Luke Madill is buoyant about the chances of the green and gold contingent.
“We have more than 100 riders here and there is already great camaraderie and spirit between them and those that have come to support the team,” Madill said.
“So far we have settled in well and I’m looking forward to seeing all the riders put their best foot forward and show some typical Aussie grit.
“Every year at the world championships at least one Australian puts in a performance to remember and there are a number of riders here capable of making their mark against the best in the world.
“We have Thomas Tucker and Gian Renato defending their W1 plates and others like Nathaniel Rodway, Des’Ree Barnes and Bailey Mills who have won world titles in their age groups before.
“The important thing is they all have a crack and represent the Australian jersey with pride.”
BMXA will provide extensive coverage of the action in Baku, via our website, social media channels and a daily edition of The Dirt, starting on Wednesday morning.
Live racing from Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be available by clicking HERE!
Further information on how to watch the Championship classes will be announced on our website and Facebook page, as soon as it becomes available to BMXA.
FEATURED IMAGE: 2018 UCI Baku BMX World Championships Facebook page.