UCI BMX Racing World Cup: Round 5 & 6

The 2023 UCI BMX World Cup is now in full swing, reaching the halfway mark in fact at the most recent event, being Round 5 & 6 which were held in Sarrians, France - over the weekend 22-24 September.

As you may have noticed, we've been tracking the event, watching as some of the LUX riders make their presence known in a european dominated field. After earlier 2023 events in Turkey and the Netherlands, the series reaches the pointy end as we head towards the final 4 rounds, to be hosted by Argentina in October. 

Unfortunately, one of our biggest hopes for a win, Izaac Kennedy, succumbed to a heavy knee injury and will not find himself in any further UCI events this year. Despite this unfortunate occurrence, we remain buoyed by our New Zealand contingent, Rico Bearman who is a serious hope for taking out the Under 23 Men event. And while not under the LUX umbrella, there are a bunch of other Australians in the mix, including Saya Sakakibara who is a shot at the Elite Womens event. 

But, to the event at hand. The frolicking French countryside, the archaic structures of old, picturesque plains - the south of France by gosh! This is the site for the latest round, with the freshly constructed track (2022) playing its role to perfection, a classic 3 x turn, 4 x straight facility with the 30 foot start ramp, bitumen turns and hard-packed clay track. The men manoeuvre a second straight pro-section and all must contend with a range of rhythm sections at various depths and complexities. 

The view of the punter, looks seriously flat from this distance. I can tell you it aint. Photo taken from BMX Sarrians socials

Sarrians BMX facility, looking fine might I say. Photo taken from My Tracks

Not ashamed of a bit of drama, and to the utter dismay of all involved, Round 5 of Round 5 & 6 had to be cancelled due to bad weather, specifically psycho wind. UCI noted that 'safe execution' was not able to be achieved and made the tough call to shut down the first days action and thus the cancellation of Round 5. 

Thankfully, with the sun rising on Sunday for Round 6, the weather was much kinder and the schedule was back in play. The scene was set for LUXBMX rider Rico Bearman to consolidate his leading position in the overall standings for the Under 23 Men event. After an easy win in the 1/4 final, Rico was in the number 2 lane coming into the 1/2 final and took advantage breathing down the neck of his swiss rival Kip Stauffacher and posting a time of 31.865. 

With the main event now before us, Rico's form put him in lane 3, with some absolute european beasts on either side. After a tidy start, the inside riders from Switzerland and France squeeze him out to find himself mid-pack coming out of the first turn before an awkward encounter with another rider contributed to a loss of momentum which was hard to pull back. Without a dominant start, it really is difficult in BMX racing to make your way back to the front. With a time of 32.982, Rico assumes the 6th place. 

Horizontal action by Rico, looking very tidy in those whites. Photo taken from the dudes socials

While this was no doubt a disappointment for Rico, the silver lining is that after 6 of 10 rounds, the dude is still in the number one spot in the overall rider standings, on 738 points. This means you better be watching the last 4 rounds to bring the hype, what an incredible achievement it would be to win the series, just a kid from quaint old New Zealand ey. 

Self-explanatory. Screenshot taken from the UCI Youtube

As mentioned above, the Australian Elite Womens rider Saya Sakakibara dominated her event, consolidating her standings in the number one position overall. A huge achievement for Australian BMX. Her form was on point as shown in the below image taken from Aus Cycling

Finally, I'l leave you with this telling image from the UCI BMX Racing socials page. French dominance for a French crowd. Once again, there was a serious contention of French riders, particulary in the Elite Men event. At Sarrians, with 6 of the 8 finalists from the homeland, it was almost guaranteed that the podium would be complete and fate sealed itself, Daudet in 1, Andre in 2 and Rencurel in the third position. Remarquable!

For a visual perspective of the event, including all races from the 1/4 finals through to the main event, check out the below video. Tune in from 1hr 19min to catch Rico in the Under 23 Men final.