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05.12.14

Sam Willoughby & Laura Smulders Win UCI BMX Supercross In Papendal

BMX - Papendal, Netherlands

When the qualified riders lined up for Sunday’s main event at the second round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup, there were only stacked races on the gate. The stand-outs from the day before included TLD's Sam Willoughby (AUS) and Twan van Gendt (NED) and those two riders were exactly the ones who delivered an amazing final race that got the crowd on its feet.

Only moments before the men’s final, TLD's Laura Smulders (NED) started the good vibes in the stands by winning the women’s race, beating the likes of Felicia Stancil (USA) and Stephany Hernandez (VEN),  who returned to the World Cup podium for the second time this year.

Like Saturday, the weather created difficulties. The rainy conditions sent the track crew into overdrive to get the water off of the track and start ramp and to make the conditions for the riders as ideal as possible. Team mechanics also had their work cut out for them preparing the bikes, using special techniques to keep rear tires dry until the last moment when the riders got on the gate. Even tear-offs were used on riders’ Oakley goggles to ensure the best and clearest vision possible. The situation wasn’t ideal, but it was the same for all competitors. The best part was that the event was able to continue and the racing didn’t suffer from the circumstances.

When the gate dropped for the final race in the women’s class, Mariana Pajon (COL) and Caroline Buchanan (AUS) looked strong on the inside. It was Laura Smulders (NED), however, who grabbed the hole-shot coming into the first turn, much to the delight of the Dutch crowd. The Leatt rider didn’t start as strongly earlier in the day, but continued to build momentum and wasn’t going to give up her first place position during the final.

After winning the Time Trials final in Manchester during the first round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup, Smulders was even happier with this win: “Manchester felt good, but this one is so much better beating all the best girls in the world in an actual race- especially in this home race with friends and family watching in the stands.” She continued: “I was a little bit scared of the heavy wind today because when you’re in the air and the wind blows you sideways, it’s not what you want to happen but it all worked out well today.”

American Felicia Stancil got in the two-spot and kept that place until the finish line to land her first Supercross podium of the year. A battle between Caroline Buchanan (AUS) and Stephany Hernandez (VEN) started on the second straight and lasted until the end of the final, with Hernandez grabbing third place.

When the Pro-Gate dropped for the final race of the 8 fastest men of the day, power-houses Liam Phillips (GBR), Twan van Gendt (NED), Anthony Dean (AUS) and Sam Willoughby (AUS) quickly broke away from the other four riders. Phillips and van Gendt, both of whom started the race on the outside, entered the first turn side by side battling for an early lead. The already enthusiastic crowd cheered louder as van Gendt pulled ahead of Phillips, who was then followed by the two Australian riders Willoughby, who was steadily advancing, and Dean.

By the rhythm section on the third straight, Willoughby had already overtaken Phillips and was shortening van Gendt’s lead. Willoughby managed to pull ahead by taking the inside on the last turn, but van Gendt countered with a high-low. The last straight, however, proved difficult for van Gendt as his legs fatigued, and Phillips was gaining on his position. Sam Willoughby crossed the finish line in first place, followed by Twan van Gendt, who was  just able to hold off a charging Phillips. Get the full racing results by visiting the UCI BMX Supercross website via the links below.

Men’s Final Race Results
Women’s Final Race Results

Round two of the 2014 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup series is in the books and will go down in the history book as one of the toughest SX races of all times. Next one up: Berlin, Germany, June 13-14, 2014.
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Related Photos

  • Laura and Sam, Photo: BMX Mania
  • Sam Willoughby, Photo: BMX Mania
  • Sam Willoughby, Photo: BMX Mania