2023 UCI BMX Racing World Championships

Ladies and gentlemen, hot off the press, a recap of the 2023 UCI BMX Racing World Championships. 

Glasgow, Scotland is playing host to the 2023 UCI Cycling Worlds, hyped as the 'biggest cycling event ever'. Hard to argue with this when you're dealing with over 8,000 participating cyclists from over 120 countries. The event is to be held over 11 days and supports 13 different events including BMX freestyle, flatland, a series of Mountain Bike events (cross country, downhill), road, track, trials and of course, BMX racing. 

Taking place at the purpose built facility, the 400m long, 5m wide course at the outdoor Glasgow BMX Centre builds upon some large-scale events held in the past (i.e. 2018 European Championships & a 2022 UCI BMX Racing World Cup Event), offering that super fast first straight into a pro-section on the second and then ending with two straights jam packed with technical rhythms.

Here she is, the 2023 world championship track. Photo taken from cyclingworldchamps.com

The BMX racing event is held over the 6-9 August with the amateur bikers (from 8 years old all the way up to 50+) and then kicking up again with the elite's over the weekend of the 12 & 13 August. The elite men final will be the last lap of the BMX racing event and boy is that going to be a spectacle. 

From the Australian perspective, our BMX racing complement features 3 elite riders and 5 junior elite riders as well as 3 riders in the under 23 category. Despite a big hit to our hopes with the fall of Izaac Kennedy to a ruptured ACL (more on this in another post), we're still in with high hopes, particularly with the elite women. From a LUXBMX perspective, NZs Rico Bearman has been in hot form having won 4 x of the recent UCI BMX World Cup events in the lead up, so his presence in the under 23 mens event was sure to send shivers down the spine of his competitors. 

With the context out of the way and the weekend events having now passed, let's get into the results. 

The chicks ramping to full tilt down the start hill. Photo courtesy of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships socials

Starting with the elite Australian contingent, while there were no gold medals dangling around chuffed necks, the crew can hold their heads high in making a series of final's appearances and pushing the podium to earn their keep. An incredible achievement at the highest level!

Junior Elite Women

- Sienna Pal with the silver

- Teya Rufus with 4th

Junior Elite Men

- Josh Jolly just missing out on a finals spot (by a couple hundredths of a second)

Under 23 Men

- Jesse Asmus with 4th

Elite Women

- Saya Sakakibara with 4th

- Lauren Reynolds with 6th

Most impressively, Central Coast's emerging hotshot Sienna Pal rose through intense adversity to just make it to Glasgow, rumbling through further challenges in a brutal crash in her 1/4 final. She then smashed a win in her semi-final, leading the charge for Australia with teammate Teya Rufus in 2nd. Come final, with an outside lane at her disadvantage, Sienna killed the first straight and charged into second place behind the eventual Latvian winner, unfortunately, she was unable to find the lead despite a strong showing. 

Read more about the Australian BMX racing journey at Glasgow on the AusCycling website

Sienna Pal thrashing some gravel in her 1/4 final, still managing to cop a top 4 qualifer and build to the final. Photo taken from Sienna's socials

Beyond the elite Australian contingent, LUXBMXs lone racer Rico Bearman also took to the world stage, giving his nation, and the LUXBMX crew, something to be super proud of. 

With a second place in the semi-final qualifer, Rico took to the final from lane 6 which meant an uphill battle to find his way to the front and push for the lead. After a slow start from Rico's standards, the first turn rounded him out in 6th place, which meant a mammoth effort to weave through a pack and lock in a smooth as butter ride through the pro-straight and rhythm section. Having advanced three places, this is where the kid stayed behind his French and Swiss rivals. 

As Rico detailed to Cycling New Zealand:

“I had an average semi and got a poor lane draw for the final. I made a good start from six but the rider in seven was better and cut me off. So I had to come from the back and manage to salvage a third. It’s a pretty cool weekend. I am going home tomorrow and have not been back since March so that’s exciting. I have the World Cup in Sarrians (France) in just over a month, so I will get ready for that and try to tie up the World Cup series.”

Not bad my silver ferned friend, not bad at all. 

Rico getting low, juicing this landing for all its worth. Photo taken from the LUXBMXrace socials

The under 23 mens podium, from left to right we have Mateo Colsenet (France), Filib Steiner (Switzerland) and Rico. Photo taken from Rico's socials

Take a look at Rico's lap in the below video:

What a remarkable event to have attended. From all accounts, the weather was threatening yet kind, the competition was inevitably fierce, the French continued to dominate the highest levels and the event went off without a hitch. With all this action contained just to the BMX Racing event, it's crazy to think of how much other bicycle action went down over the near 2 week spectacle. Hopefully Australia can host this in the near future. Until then, keep an eye out on the LUXBMX Journal for more BMX racing updates.