Sam Willoughby once again tasted victory in the men’s final of the UCI BMX Supercross in Madrid at the weekend. In the final of the first Supercross leg of the season, the Australian battled with Olympic Champion Maris Strombergs (LAT) for the lead in a very crowded first turn. Willoughby, the Juniors World Champion and last year’s UCI World Cup series winner managed to take the advantage coming off the bend. He never looked back and went on to win the race in front of Conner Fields (USA). Yvo van der Putten (NED) came third, with Strombergs finishing in fourth place. BMX World Champion Donny Robinson crashed in the earlier qualifying round and was taken to hospital for a routine check. Speaking afterwards Willoughby said, “A BMX race is so short. Anything can happen. I do not plan a race. I go step by step. First a good gate, then the first turn and so on. I really benefit from racing a lot. It is a big bonus to have experience on the track and be able to react to situations. 70% of winning is mental. The best races are the ones I don’t really remember. You are so focused then.”
Laetitia le Corguillé (FRA) won the women’s event despite a strong start from Great Britain’s Shanaze Reade (GBR). After gaining an advantage at the gate and leading out of the first turn, Reade made a mistake in the second straight. Her French rival quickly overtook and held onto her lead until the finish. Reade, multiple World Champion, finished second in front of Caroline Buchanan (AUS). Speaking of her second place, Reade said “I started the event a bit shaky but I improved. I am happy with this result. But it was a very difficult track, the first turn especially. I really took time away from BMX racing with my injury. I took my time and tried to get some things sorted like buying a house. I am 3 months back on the bike again after my injury. I need to sharpen up a bit but this is a good beginning." More than 4000 spectators watched the racing in the Palacio des Deportes, downtown Madrid. The course was rendered especially spectacular by the introduction of ‘the box’ in the men’s race. This box can best be described as a massive, steep, almost square tabletop obstacle. The riders had to jump on and off the box, which was placed in the second straight. The enthusiastic Spanish crowd loved this challenging element that combines BMX freestyle, slope style and racing.