There was barely a cloud in the sky, but it rained silver and bronze for Australia on day one of the BMX world championships in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku on Tuesday.
Racing in warm, humid conditions, the 33 Australian riders entered in the cruiser events acquitted themselves well around the picturesque track, but it was a quartet that stood tallest in the green and gold.
World championships rookie Jordan Callum (13 & 14yrs boy’s), James Lautier (17-24 men) and Melanie Gibson (40 & over women) all won silver medals, while inspirational veteran Sandy Cameron (40 & over women) claimed a bronze.
Officials ripped through the motos in quick fashion with some events going to quarter finals, others directly to semis, before 14 Australians qualified for the finals.
The first to find the podium was national champion Callum from Rockingham in Western Australia in his first event at his first ever worlds.
Racing against fellow Australian Thomas Tucker, the reigning 12 & under world champion, Callum moved into second at the first turn before producing a stunning passing move on leader Pedro Jose Benalcazar Guerrero on the last berm to hit the front.
From there the two teenage combatants went pedal for pedal down the home straight, only to see the Ecuadorian win a photo finish. Tucker placed fifth and will now focus on defending his 20” title on Thursday night (AEST).
Despite the tightest of finishes, Callum could not hide his excitement.
“I’m pretty stoked, it’s my first worlds and to make the final was great,” Callum said.
“It was a bit hot and humid, but I just made sure I drank plenty of water and it was good.”
Lautier, 23, had a great day too, winning his first moto before a pair of second placings ensured he cruised into the semi where he was again first past the post.
In the final, the osteopath student was in the top three throughout but couldn’t quite catch Brazilian Felippi Goncalves.
“I feel awesome,” a delighted Lautier said.
“I had a good start and I’m pretty happy with my ride around the track, but I couldn’t make it stick at the end.”
Australia’s final two medallists came in the same race with Gibson and Cameron riding out of their skins to finish with W2 and W3 plates behind Dutchwoman Rebecca Neus-Wichman.
Check out the dynamic duo’s post race interview by CLICKING HERE!
Gibson, 41, who works in a bike shop, said the familiarity of racing each other regularly helped her and her compatriot.
“We can race clubbies together, ACT titles, national titles and worlds and we always have that same vibe,” Gibson said.
“We don’t have that extra nervousness whether it’s a clubby or worlds. It’s the same and we are just in it together.”
Cameron, an electrician who turned 50 last month and races women up to ten years her junior in the 40 & over event, was shocked with her result.
“I never expected to be that high up on the podium,” Cameron said.
“I thought seventh or eighth but not third. It’s awesome.”
In other Australian results:
Miss out on watching yesterday’s action? No need to fear, check out the Youtube video below.
For finals, head to 3:57:00 and watch our 12 & under boy’s kick off proceedings… or watch the day’s racing in its entirety.
Day two of the world championships will feature another 33 Australian entrants, all competing in the 20” classes for ages between 7 and 12.
Follow the action via the LIVE STREAM from 1530 AEST with finals expected sometime around 730pm or 8pm AEST.
Featured Image: Craig Dutton