Australia’s Tokyo Olympic hopeful Saya Sakakibara has finished fourth in the eighth round of the 2019 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Rock Hill, while Rio Olympian Lauren Reynolds followed in fifth.

COVER PIC: Courtesy of Craig Dutton

Making it to her fourth world cup final this year, Sakakibara was hunting for that elusive podium with many first-place finishes during the qualification period, but nevertheless recorded her strongest result for this series.

Coming away from the weekend with many positives, Sakakibara is really happy with her performance and is looking forward to the next two rounds in Argentina where she picked up her maiden world cup gold medal at the end of last year.

“I had a good day today,” Sakakibara said.

“I went through all the motos in first and second and I had a really good lap in my semi-final. I even had the second fastest lap for the day.

“It’s really exciting to come away with the fourth and there are a lot of positives to come away from this weekend. I’m really looking forward to training again and ready to do it all again in Argentina.”

Joining Sakakibara on the gate was Bunbury’s Lauren Reynolds, who has recorded her third final for the 2019 world cup. The experienced campaigner knows only too well how tough the world cups are and was happy with her overall result.

“I’m really happy with finishing fifth,” Reynolds said.

“It’s been a long weekend and a tough day of racing. Every lap was tough, but I just had to take it one lap at a time and I’m really pleased to have made the final.

“I’m just continuing to work on those things to make me better and I’ll just keep working hard.”

First place on the elite women’s podium went to the defending world cup champion Laura Smulders, while the world no.1, Alise Willoughby finished second and Russia’s Natalia Afremova was third.

Taking the top spot on the men’s podium and extending his lead on the world cup standings was Dutch superstar Niek Kimmann. Joining him in second was Ecuador’s Alfredo Campo, and his fellow countryman Dave Van Der Burg in third.

Australia’s male contingent had a series of unfortunate events which ruled out any chance of them making the finals. Max Cairns was the pick of the riders getting into the quarters, while four were eliminated in the 1/8 finals.

Flying high off his first podium in his first world cup final during round seven, Logan City’s Izaac Kennedy couldn’t replicate it in round eight, coming together with another rider in mid-air and falling down hard in the pro straight.

Kennedy was thankfully up and about after his crash.

It was unfortunately not Kai Sakakibara’s weekend either, as the Tokyo Olympic hopeful was once again eliminated in the 1/8 finals in back to back rounds.

Matt Krasevskis and Kyle Hill were the other two riders who couldn’t qualify to the quarter finals, both finishing fifth in their races.

Suffering from his crash during round seven, Rio Olympic finalist Anthony Dean did not compete in this round.

All eyes now turn to the final two rounds of the world cup season on September 28 and 29. Taking place in Santiago Del Estero, Argentina, the Australian contingent will be ready to go as they continue to charge for Olympic qualification points.

Full Australian Results from Rock Hill Rd7: (Including Overall Place)

  • Saya Sakakibara: FOURTH
  • Lauren Reynolds: FIFTH
  • Max Cairns: 21st – 1/4 finals
  • Matt Krasevskis: 29th – 1/8 finals
  • Izaac Kennedy: 30th – 1/8 finals
  • Kyle Hill: 32nd – 1/8 finals
  • Kai Sakakibara: 35th – 1/8 finals
  • Rachel Gaskin: 47th – Last Chance
  • Adam Carey: 99th – Last Chance
  • Anthony Dean: DNS


Updated Australian Standings after Rock Hill Rd8:

Men’s Standings

  • Kai Sakakibara: 13th 380 points
  • Anthony Dean: 23rd 245 points
  • Izaac Kennedy: 35th 140 points
  • Matt Krasevskis: 42nd 109 points
  • Max Cairns: 54th 75 points
  • Kyle Hill: 85th 25 points
  • Shane Rosa: 90th 19 points
  • Hayden Fletcher: 105th 14 points
  • Brandon Te Hiko: 119th 8 points
  • Joshua McLean: 131st 4 points

Women’s Standings

  • Saya Sakakibara: 8th 515 points
  • Lauren Reynolds: 9th 490 points
  • Erin Lockwood: 44th 97 points
  • Leanna Curtis: 49th 80 points
  • Rachel Gaskin: 73rd 17 points