Reynolds and Kennedy impress at the BMX World Championships

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Photo courtesy of UCI BMX SX Facebook

The UCI BMX SX World Championships got underway for the first time in two years yesterday at National Sports Centre Papendal, The Netherlands.

The Papendal track is highly technical and brought some fantastic racing throughout the day, with the rain holding off until the end of the last race.

Australia had three riders competing at this year’s World Championships, with Saya Sakakibara pulling out last week due to injuries sustained during the Olympic Games.

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Australia’s current Elite Men’s National champion, Izaac Kennedy, started the day in sensational style, taking out all three of his opening motos to progress to the next round. Western Australia’s Lauren Reynolds would join Kennedy in the next round, finishing fourth, fourth and second to edge her way through to the quarter-finals.

In his Elite World Championships debut, Tamworth’s very own Jack Davis came up against Niek Kimmanan in his opening heats and battled well in a stacked heat. Unfortunately, Davis would just miss out on making the next round, finishing fifth overall in his heat.

“It’s no secret I was off the pace today, but it was an awesome experience racing at this level for the first time. But I didn’t race for the experience. Taking it on the chin and moving on.” Davis said on Instagram.

After the opening heats, there is only one heat per round, meaning it’s do or die for all riders. After his flawless start, Kennedy just made it through to the quarter-finals, finishing fourth in the elimination final.

The twenty-one-year-old rediscovered his pace in the quarter-final, with an impressive second straight run to finish second behind Kimmann. Reynolds started her quarter-final well from gate eight as she picked up pace early, slotting herself into third at the first berm where she would eventually finish.

Check out Izaac's Quarter Final - HERE

The semi-finals brought a touch of chaos with them, with most heats featuring a crash or two. Fortunately for Reynolds, the three-time Olympian navigated her way through a coming together in front of her at the start of the second straight to steal fourth and make her third World Championships final. Kennedy would join Reynolds in the final as he finished third in his semi-final, the two-time World Cup bronze medallist narrowly missed out on the holeshot but slotted himself into third which he defended well throughout the race.

It all came down to the main events, with the Dutch weather holding off for the final races of the day.

Reynolds was behind the leaders coming into the first berm however, once again, riders in front tumbled and Reynolds managed to squeeze her way through unscratched. Unfortunately, Reynolds had to slow to miss the falling riders thus, she was a few seconds behind the leading riders. Reynolds crossed the line fifth, matching her Olympic finish in Tokyo less than a month ago with Bethany Shriever (GBR) taking the rainbow stripes after recently taking gold in Tokyo.

"Overall it was a good day on paper. The build-up of the delayed games and the emotions involved meant I felt emotionally exhausted after the games however once race week came around for the Worlds, I was jumping out of my skin to race again. The hunger was there." Lauren said post the final.

"I struggled a little bit on the first jump on the first straight and it definitely cost me at points. I wasn't dominating laps but I was right where I needed to be to get through to the final and once you're there, in the final, it's absolutely anyone's race to win!"

It wasn't the final result Reynolds hope for but the Bunbury BMX rider is still pleased.

"I hoped for a little higher than fifth however I hold my head high, fifth in the Olympics and the Worlds after not making a Worlds final in four years, that's a great feeling."

To watch the final - CLICK HERE

In the Elite Men’s race, Kennedy recovered from a tough start to battle for a top five finish however he fell just short, finishing seventh overall. A considerable achievement for the youngest man in the final.

"It felt good to be feeling like myself again after some struggles with my wrist injury," Kennedy said after his debut Elite World Championships final.

"I was pretty happy to be going fast again. Won all of my motos then had a bit of a mistake in the 1/8 and had to battle to make it through. Was pretty frustrated after that but I reset after that lap and just focused on my processes and made it through to 1/4 and 1/2 semi pretty comfortably."

Kennedy's came into the championships in strong form after a fourth-place finish in the last World Cup round and consistent performances in the USA National Series.

"Elite main at the worlds was a goal so was happy to make that happen. Probably my worst lap of the day, so I was pretty frustrated with that but was a great feeling lining up at the gate with the fastest guys in the world who all want to win. I love those nerves before getting on the gate knowing what is on the line for this one lap. For sure motivates me to only get better."

To watch the final - CLICK HERE

More To Come


Results

Elite Women's Final:

  1. Bethany Shriever (GBR)
  2. Judy Baauw (NED)
  3. Laura Smulders (NED)
  4. Marian Pajon (COL)
  5. Lauren Reynolds (AUS)
  6. Alise Willoughby (USA)
  7. Felicia Stancil (USA)
  8. Zoe Claessens (SUI)


Elite Men's Final:

  1. Niek Kimmann (NED)
  2. Sylvain Andre (FRA)
  3. David Graf (SUI)
  4. Simon Marquart (SUI)
  5. Arthur Pilard (FRA)
  6. Mitchel Schotman (NED)
  7. Izaac Kennedy (AUS)
  8. Cameron Wood (USA)

Full Results – Click Here

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