2017 UCI BMX World Championships race report
With over 900 racers on #TeamUSA, America was well-prepared for a triumphant return of the World Championships to U.S. soil, after a 16-year absence. Novant Health BMX Track in Rock Hill, SC played an awesome host and helped make this the greatest World Championship ever.
The last time The Worlds had been held on U.S. soil was 2001, in Louisville, KY. (in fact, it was at the very same arena where USA BMX now holds the Blue Grass Nationals). BMX Racing has evolved a WHOLE lot since then, if you compare the 2001 track (tight and small, built with mushy dirt) to what we had this weekend (a huge, monstrous hard-packed slurried and asphalt track at a City-funded million-dollar facility).
Preparation for this event began at the beginning of this year, with four qualifiers at USA BMX nationals - which added 8 riders each time to #TeamUSA. As the host country for Worlds, UCI allows up to 32 riders per class (twice the number of racers other countries can bring) - with any W#'s from the previous year being automatic and additional. In the end, there were over 900 riders on Team USA, and with some racing both cruiser and 20", over 1,100 entries. This would be the largest U.S. contingent in BMX history, and everybody was feeling confident that the good ol' red, white and blue could dominate and hold down at least 50% of the spots in the mains and on the podiums. That was the goal.
When coming up for the design for the 2017 #TeamUSA uniform, the particular pattern that was decided on had been nicknamed the "Evil Knievel Design" - a tribute to the daredevil who made it cool to wear red, white and blue. His patriotism for the United States in the 70's, as he jumped over cars all over the world (and crashed a LOT), was an inspiration for the youth of the 70's who had invented this sport called Bicycle Motocross. Team USA was about to pay homage to the late, great Evil ...hopefully, without the crashing part.
With over 900 members of #TeamUSA registered, the entire American squad gathered prior to the start of racing at nearby Winthrop University arena for the USA pep rally - as the chant "U-S-A! ...U-S-A! ...U-S-A!" rang in the background, you could tell that all U.S. riders were pumped up and ready to defend their homeland for foreign invaders.
DAY 1: Cruisers
DAY 2: 12 & Unders
DAY 3: 13 to 16's
DAY 4: 17 & Overs
Day 5: Elites