Four South African BMX racers are representing South Africa against the world’s best in Chula Vista, California this weekend for the final round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup.
Overall Supercross titles as well as prestigious points for National Olympic qualification rankings are at stake. The team has been practicing on the track at the United States Olympic Committee Training Centre in Chula Vista during the week. The track is a challenging, spiced-up replica of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games track and is a favourite amongst the world’s Elite.
For Sifiso Nhlapo, this will be his first big race since injuring his knee earlier this year. His biokineticist has joined him and will be keeping a close eye on his progress. ┬áSifiso is feeling 100% better than he has been in the last four weeks, but racing in the big league after being out of the game for the last few months leaves him guessing exactly where his fitness is.
For BMX racing, this is an end-of-season race, so most of the challengers have had their full season of racing, with Skizo only making his comeback after at least six months of rest. ┬áHis goal for this weekend’s Supercross is to make it through the Time Trial and Moto rounds, with a semi-final or final running being first prize.
Teagan O’Keeffe arrived in the USA mid-week to join her compatriots.┬áFeeling fresh after returning from her practice session yesterday, she was especially pleased to jump the first jump without problems, compared to many of the other girls who were feeling nervous about their approach and not able to tackle the jump during practice.
ÔÇ£I felt good around the rest of the track too,ÔÇØ said O’Keeffe. ÔÇ£And Thomas, my coach was happy with my session.ÔÇØ ┬áOn opening a fortune cookie that evening, Teagan’s message read: now is the time to set your sights high and go for it. ┬áÔÇ£And you know me, never ignore the advice from the fortune cookie factory!ÔÇØ
According to BMX High Performance Coach Jonnathan Chislett, both Kyle Dodd (Junior Elite) and Gavin Lubbe (Elite) were looking really strong out the gate during their practice session and showed some good speed around the track. ┬áAfter the practice Lubbe said: ÔÇ£I feel really strong on my 1, 2 and 3 out the gate.ÔÇØ He wished every local practice could be stacked with all the talented riders here for the SX.
Dodd seemed a little on edge in the beginning but soon loosened up and showed why he is one of the top Junior Elites. ┬áÔÇ£I feel like I’ve grown so much in the last year. ┬áRiding with all the top dogs in this sport is a great feeling,ÔÇØ said Dodd.
Time trials are on the program for Friday with racing scheduled for Saturday.
Sifiso and Kyle will return to South Africa after this weekend’s racing to take part in the Final leg of the SA National BMX Champs on Saturday 8 October and the SA Grand National BMX Champs on Sunday ÔÇô both taking place at the Alrode track in Gauteng.