Eight world class racers. Eight qualified riders. A demonic sprint to turn one.
In just under two weeks the BMX world will forget the stringent regulations of the UCI, defy the pressure that comes with world cup and world championship racing and will let flair and style fly at the inaugural ‘Cafe Willoughby Holeshot Challenge’ at Chula Vista BMX, California.
The event – which bears the name of Australian star Sam Willoughby’s live BMX podcast – will pit eight invited, elite riders against eight riders who qualify for the challenge. The unique night of racing will see a total of 16 athletes, whittled down to a one-on-one showdown.
Aussie fans will have 2016 Olympian Anthony Dean to cheer on throughout the night. The South Australian was announced as an invitational rider alongside Texan Tanner Sebesta, San Diego local Sean Gaian, reigning men’s world champion Corben Sharrah (USA), two-time USA Olympian Nic Long, Canadian Olympic finalist Tory Nyhaug, former French world champion Joris Daudet and reigning women’s world champion Alise Post (USA).
Unlike other BMX events, the competition will be run from the gate until the exit of turn one, a truly sprint event that will demand pure speed and a dash of skill from some of the world’s finest.
Speaking with FATBMX, Willoughby said that the idea came about as a solution to boring racing.
“A hot topic on the show [Cafe Willoughby] has been prize money, the races being boring blah blah blah. So conveniently Tyler [co-host Tyler Brown] runs a track,” Willoughby said.
“And most [of] these pros hate racing because it gets in the way of training so we thought screw it! We will put a race on that caters to both, a holeshot race! We are going to put up prize money and run this thing under the lights with an amp-here that all BMX racer’s want!”
Not just for the guys, Willoughby continued that this is an event that anyone can have a crack it, if they want to walk away with a slice of the $5,000 prize purse that is.
“[There will only be] one class, but we will be inviting some ladies to mix it up,” he said.
“We will have 8 invited riders, and host an open qualification for anyone interested. From that open qualifications we will get down to 8 riders for the total of 16 into the nights [sic] show.”
The structure of the event will be simple. Two heats of eight riders will line up, with the bottom two in each being dropped out after the first round. In the second round, two heats of six riders will line up – again the bottom two will be eliminated.
From there the remaining riders will go into one heat, with a round every 10 minutes that will knock out the slowest rider each time, until just two remain. With no lane choice, and the gates being closed in each time, riders will be racing shoulder-to-shoulder every round.
The event will kick off at the US Olympic Training Centre, Chula Vista BMX, on Monday November 6 at 6pm local time; 12pm AEDT on Tuesday November 7 for Aussie fans.
All the action will be LIVE STREAMED on the Cafe Willoughby Facebook page.