By Mark Etheridge
In spite of not having the greatest of weekends Sifiso “Skizo” Nhlapo has moved his way up the world rankings after the third round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Chula Vista, California.
More than 170 elite men and women registered for the event at Chula Vista’s US Olympic Training Centre.
Nhlapo failed to make the finals at the weekend but still found himself moving up from 25th to 15th in the overall rankings, the only South African in the top 50 and not bad going for a man who spent eight months on the sidelines after an horrendous neck injury suffered while training in Norway.
Winner at the weekend was American Nicholas Long from Australian Sam Willoughby and 2008 Olympic champion Maris Strombergs of Latvia. Nhlapo was also in action at the Beijing Olympics, reaching the final before crashing out.
And Strombergs was also in action in South Africa recently where he won the world championships, beating Nhlapo in the process.
According to manager, Mark Squire, Nhlapo has never been a great TT (time trial) rider and prefers to race and be bar-to-bar with his rivals, but he found himself out on the circuit for the second TT lap to qualify for the event. Nhlapo’s second lap went a little better and he qualified in 50th position with a time of 37.277 and was enough to put him into the motos.
In Skizo’s motos he ran a fifth, then third (behind the US’s Connor Fields and Jelle van Gorkum of the Netherlands) which put him through to quarters where he ended seventh and that, unfortunately in BMX racing, is enough to send you packing for the weekend.
Skizo commented, ÔÇ£I came in very prepared and was looking to stand on the box again, but not this weekend, going home to the MTN Grand Nationals then off to Frejus SX (France) to turn things aroundÔÇªÔÇØ
On the Nations list, South Africa are currently ranked seventh with Latvia first, France second and the United States third.
Nhlapo’s schedule for the remainder of the year:
24-25 September ÔÇô MTN SA Champs (Pietermaritzburg)ÔÇ¿26 September ÔÇô MTN Grand Nationals (Pietermaritzburg) ÔÇ¿8-9 October ÔÇô UCI SX Frejuse (France) ÔÇ¿22-24 October ÔÇô Disney Cup Florida (US)ÔÇ¿25-28 November ÔÇô ABA Grands (US)