For some it was a rocky road at Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2019 UCI BMX SX World Cup in Rock Hill, South Carolina. In racing it cannot always go your way as a.o. Federico Villegas and Exequiel Torres found out just two weeks before their home race in Argentina. Friday evening’s race was delayed by some fierce weather but it cleared up in time for the racing to take place under the lights of one of the best BMX facilities on the planet. The permanent grandstands, offices, brick toilets, parking and a track with a brilliant surface all came in handy when mother nature teases you. The asphalt turns stayed in good condition and the racing was top notch.
National races don’t always have the same number of entries in the Elite class as at the UCI World Cup races. With Olympic qualifying points up for grabs 60 Women entered the race on Friday where 113 Elite Men were battling for a spot on the podium at the end of the night.
Especially in the Women class the standings in the overall ranking were close going into round 7. USA’s Alise Willoughby was going to use home advantage in Rock Hill, a track that she won the 2017 Elite Women World title on but of course Laura Smulders (NED) wasn’t just going to give the red leader plate to her. Laura had come back from a crash at a race in China and did not have an idea how good she would do against the fastest BMX ladies on the planet. Mariana Pajon (COL) made the final as well as Judy Baauw (NED), third in the standings, Saya Sakakibara (AUS), Natalia Afremova (RUS), and