Open, honest, assured and backed by a champion. Bunbury’s two-time Olympic BMX rider Lauren Reynolds is just days away from lining up on the gate at the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships, and she expects herself to be dicing in the final come Saturday.
Reynolds will be a leader of the 274-strong Australian team racing in Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA this weekend, in what will be the biggest ever international event in the States. It’s expected that 3,300 riders and 20,000 spectators from 40 countries will be in attendance.
Despite the swarms of riders taking to the gate in Rock Hill, Reynolds believes that come Saturday she has the ability to be among the fastest eight women in the world, fighting for a podium. It isn’t out of boldness that she backs herself with such conviction. The addition of injured BMX star Sam Willoughby to her coaching team in recent months has contributed significantly to her preparation.
“My biggest strength right now is my support crew. I have Sam as a coach and we’ve been working together for seven or eight months now after being tight for many years,” Reynolds said.
“We’ve previously shared a coach, but things have changed and now he’s on board helping me. He’s given me a lot of inspiration and motivation to be better and the best version of myself. He was the champ, there was no one better than him.
“It’s been awesome to be surrounded by people like him, that gives me a lot of confidence.”
While the impact of Willoughby can’t be underestimated, on paper Reynolds will come into the world championships with enviable results for 2017 so far. Third place at the second round of the world cup in Papendal, Netherlands and a pair of podiums at the Salt Lake Nationals in the USA have buoyed Reynolds in her preparation.
“I had a really good trip to Belgium, a podium and finalist positions were great. It’s getting tougher each year, and the level of competition is improving each time we race,” she said.
“Racing the Salt Lake event, I got a second and third. Every race in the USA is tough, so if I can stay in the top three I know I am somewhere around where I need to be in order to be competitive and try and get the top spot.”
To get the top spot in Rock Hill won’t be easy, Reynolds is racing in a world championships event after all. But on a track that on the surface seems rudimentary, the fast West Australian knows it will be a technically astute rider who will ultimately prevail.
“I’ve raced at Rock Hill a few times, so I’m excited to be racing there,” Reynolds said.
“But it’s a really basic track. Having said that, it is made technical because you have to make the most of every jump and fight to maintain your momentum and speed. There is no free speed on this track.
“It has a short and tight first straight, so whoever can be smoothest – while being aggressive in key areas like working for the inside lane – will do well. It’s a fairly long track, so you need to be fit and ready for it.
“I’m excited and ready to race. Wherever I finish, as long as I put in my all, I will be happy. But I expect to be in that main event and I expect to be a very competitive rider.”
Anthony Dean – Cross Keys BMX Club
Bodi Turner – Eastfield BMX Club
Matthew Juster – Jingli BMX Club
Kai Sakakibara – Southlake Illawarra BMX Club
Josh McClean – Pine Rivers BMX Club
Caroline Buchanan – Tuggeranong BMX Club
Leanna Curtis – Southlake Illawarra BMX Club
Sarah Harvey – Pine Rivers BMX Club
Lauren Reynolds – Bunbury BMX Club
Men’s Junior Elite
Joshua Boyton – Centenary BMX Club
Izaac Kennedy – Logan City BMX Academy
Kyle Hill – Nerang BMX Club
Matt Krasevskis – Ipswich West Morton BMX Club
Women’s Junior Elite
Saya Sakakibara – Southlake Illawarra BMX Club
Jenna Williams – Suncoast Hinterland BMX Club
Erin Lockwood – Nerang BMX Club
Eden Whitlock – Redlands BMX Club