Saturday June 9th brought a full day of World Class BMX racing to the BMX Velopark in Baku Azerbaijan. With Friday's cancellation due to the wind, the moto's had to be raced on Saturday making it a full day of BMX for all involved. The French and the Dutch divided the 2018 UCI BMX World Titles with Frenchmen Sylvain André winning the Elite race and Leo Garoyan dominating the Junior Men class. Indy Scheepers (NED) had the race of her life in Junior Women to take the title home to the Netherlands while Laura Smulders took the Elite Women title which was still missing on her trophy case.
The recently rebuilt track, built by ProTracks of France, received excellent reviews from riders and spectators alike - which confirms the UCI’s philosophy of developing tracks which promote excellent racing along their entire length, with minimal risk.
Junior Women: Up until the final round the Swiss had looked the best with Zoe Claessens and Leila Henry winning their semi final but when the gate dropped in the final it was The Netherlands' Indy Scheepers who powered to the first position in turn one. When she lost her first place in turn two to Zoe Claessens the Dutch rider made a similar move in the last turn to take the lead back for the Junior Women title with Zoe in 2nd and Colombia's Gabriela Bolle Carrillo in 3rd.
Junior Men: Leo Garoyan (FRA) won all laps including the final making the Frenchman the true Junior Men World Champion. Juan Camilo Ramirez Valencia (COL) took silver with Chile's Mauricio Molina Vergara getting bronze.
Elite Women: For half of the final race Alise Willoughby fans thought she was going to grab her second UCI rainbow jersey in a row but Laura Smulders caught up to the American on straight two to make an inside pass in the second turn. In an all or nothing move for the lead Laura managed to take the lead while Alise Post clipped Smulders' rear wheel and went down. This moved Laura's sister Merel into second place with another Dutch racer by the name of Judy Baauw behind the Smulders duo in third. The orange sweep was complete when they crossed the finish in that order.
Elite Men: It could be any one's race in the Elite Men class. Making it to the final 8 was an accomplishment for all. The track in Baku showed its strength as a good race track with 7 riders coming out of the gate side by side powering through their first pedals. The only one missing his gate was last year's UCI World Champion Corben Sharrah who had to start in 8th position. Starting from Lane 1 Joris Daudet (FRA) grabbed the holeshot with Dave van der Burg (NED) in second coming from lane 7 but it was Sylvain André who took the inside advantage over V.D. Burg to come out of turn one in second place. V.D. Burg then slid out in the second turn by himself which scrambled the rest of the field while the two Frenchman were leading the race. At this point Brasil's Anderson de Souza Filho had moved up to an incredible third position in his first Elite Men World's final, a place he held onto till the finish line. But up front the ever consistent Joris Daudet made a mistake on the last rhythm section which allowed Sylvain André to catch up. A photo finish was needed to call the winner. With 0.006 of a second difference the win went to Sylvain André.