Take a look back at some of the highlights that you may or may not have seen from around the track in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was a colourful week and there were plenty of highlights!
PIC: Craig Dutton Photography
What a venue riders were greeted with in Baku! This year’s Aussie team was smaller than we had for Rock Hill, USA in 2017. Many opted to skip this year in favour of Zolder, Belgium in 2019 or Houston, USA in 2020.
All we can say is that if you missed this one, you missed an absolute belter. Baku, you did good.
But of those Aussies who made the trip, well, they turned up the volume! In total this bunch claimed 14 medals, six of them gold, and 37 plates. We’ll take that!
Aussie Aussie Aussie!! #TeamAUSBMX loud and proud at @bakubmx2018
Posted by BMX Australia on Monday, June 4, 2018
Another Aussie in attendance again was 2012 Olympic silver medallist, 2016 Olympic finalist and two-time elite men’s world champion (2012 and 2014) Sam Willoughby. He may have been donning the USA shirt in support of wife Alise Willoughby, but he remains a firm fan favourite!
Speaking of Alise, she brought the Willoughby name back to world championships competition for the first time since 2016. Unfortunately a crash ended her final early.
The world championships are about more than just riding, just ask New Zealand rider Luke Brooke-Smith who made a heap of new friends…including our own Josh Jolly!
And when riders were done riding, team spirit kicked in. It was so good to see all that green and gold in the stands all week long.
Speaking of supporters, this is up there with our absolute favourite BMX moments, ever. Glenn Eden willed daughter Portia on as she rode to #W1 in the 11-girl’s race. Just enjoy this #prouddadmoment for what it is.
Another top performer this week was James Lautier! After claiming silver in the 17-24 men’s Cruiser event, Lautier got himself into his 20″ final too. Unfortunately he took a tumble while running second, but still ended up #W8. A great trip for the Sunbury BMX Club rider!
Jersey swaps! Finnish BMX mum (and part time self-proclaimed ‘crazyish cat lady’) Sini Sittnikow posted this pic of the swaps made during the worlds. Great to see the green and gold will brighten up a household on the other side of the world!
There was a schedule change for elite riders after heavy winds cancelled motos on Friday June 9. That meant all motos and finals were run on Saturday June 10. Frenchman Sylvain André won the elite men’s world title, but before he managed that, he did a little track maintenance the day prior – just to prove how windy it was. Worth a watch.
Of course, we can’t forget the dedicated Aussie fans who were back home waiting to watch the final day of racing! We put this poll up for those who were burning the early hours with us at 2:30am AEST. But we won’t be fooled by those of you who have voted well after racing finished, we know you slept in…
What a treat the finals were. Yes, it would have been nice for the Aussies to get another medal. However let’s be realistic, we had two riders who came home sixth and that is a mighty fine effort at this level!
Another real highlight was the elite men’s final, André won the thing, but only just. He came from what looked to be 100km behind compatriot Joris Daudet and snuck under him to steal victory by 0.006 of a second! It’s the sort of thievery that would make Bonnie and Clyde blush.
But we think the pic below is just the ultimate. Sisters Laura and Merel Smulders of the Netherlands claimed a 1-2 in the elite women’s event. They become the first siblings to finish with gold and silver and the first siblings on the elite podium.
With fellow Dutch rider Judy Baauw coming home third (after being dead last out of the gate, mind you) it was the first time since 1997 that a nation has cleaned up an elite podium! You watched history with this race.
Next year worlds heads back to Heusden-Zolder in Belgium. Last time we were there Caroline Buchanan was second behind Stefany Hernandez of Venezuela in the elite women’s race, Danish rider Simone Tetsche Christensen was third.
Expect Buchanan back in action in 2019…but the elite landscape has changed so much since 2015. Will it be an old school podium next time we go to the world’s biggest BMX event, or will the new order hold firm a the top of the tree? We’re already counting down.