A top result at the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup has gone begging for Aussie elite rider Saya Sakakibara, after she was taken out as collateral damage when American rider Brooke Crain fell during the semi-finals
Racing took place in Santiago Del Estero, Argentina for the first of two-world cup rounds this weekend. Day one saw fast racing with a score of the world’s best BMX riders competing in a last-ditch effort to rack up world championship ranking points.
Illawarra rider and ranked no.2 in the world, Saya Sakakibara was among the contenders for a medal heading into the event and was eager to maintain her position as the bronze medallist in the world cup standings.
Making it all the way into the semi-finals, the nineteen-year-old had a great start out of the gate, but when Crain went down heading into the second berm, so too did Sakakibara.
Coming away with a graze on her shoulder and a sore back, rather than some podium hardware, Sakakibara remains positive and confident with another podium opportunity up for grabs in tomorrow’s racing.
“I was a little disappointed to come down with Brooke in the semi’s but I was pretty happy with how I went prior to that, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” Sakakibara said.
“I race my best when I am enjoying myself and I was really excited about racing this weekend so it’s going to be another great day.”
It also ended in the semi-finals for South Australia’s Anthony Dean who couldn’t keep up with the front runners finishing in sixth place. Meanwhile Queensland’s Joshua Mclean finished fifth in his 1/8 finals.
Very similar to his younger sister, Kai Sakakibara also hit the tarmac, his spill coming in the 1/16 finals after a collision with Dutchman Twan Van Gendt. This was his verdict.
“A really hot day of racing, it was like a hair dryer in my face,” said Kai.
“I feel like it wasn’t my best result of the year but I’ve definitely been more disappointed when I’ve had a better result because I was riding to the best of my ability.”
“I’m not injured and I’m good to go for tomorrow.”
The men’s elite final delivered a cracking encounter with Corben Sharrah from the USA crossing the finish line first. From second to sixth place, there were five men all lunging for the line, but second place ended up going to hometown hero, Gonzalo Molina and third going to American, Jared Garcia.
Following the men’s event was the women’s elite final with world no.1 Laura Smulders from the Netherlands beating home Alise Willoughby from the USA and New Zealand’s Sarah Walker.
The Australian team will have another shot of making the podium tomorrow when the eighth and final round of the 2018 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup unfolds on the same track.
Action will commence at 2am AEST (Monday morning) with finals expected to begin at 5:55am AEST.
You can watch the replay of today’s action below.
You can see round 8 LIVE from tomorrow morning below.