Union Cycliste Internationale
- Chula Vista, CA (USA)
- USA BMX
Since a very young age, Australian Sam Willougby’s dream had been to race in the USA and become the No.1 Pro. It’s been a long and tedious journey - one that he has worked very hard to achieve. Incredibly, he’s made it come true.
In fact, that dream has come true three times so far.
While working his way to the top of the Australian ranks, Sam became the first rider to win back-to-back Junior World Titles (2008 and 2009), before moving up to the Elite ranks.
It was in 2010 - now with full factory support from Redline Bicycles, that Sam won his first No.1 pro title in America.
His soaring 2011 results helped pull Australia to the highest ranked BMX nation - and Sam capped things off with a UCi World Championship; only three months out from the London Games. Full of confidence, Willoughby made his Olympic debut in London where he would again tackle the world’s best, and did his best to chase down Latvia’s Maris Strombergs. Sam wound up with a silver, for his first Olympic try - and upon returning to his new home in the U.S., proceeded to win another National No.1 Pro title in USA BMX.
2013 could very well be Sam’s best year ever; as he kicked off Day 2 of the Winternationals with a AA-pro win and wouldn’t stop winning until 13 races later. Sitting out Southpark to prepare for the Worlds, officially ended Sam’s win-streak, but he would start a new one with a late-season charge of 5 consecutive wins, clinching yet another No.1 Pro Championship. His 13-consec win-streak would shatter the previous Pro record, held by John Purse - and his 18 Win total for the year places him in 2nd place for “most wins” in a season. While the 2013 Cup was his third ever, his 2-in-a-row feat places Sam in good company - joining Brian Patterson, Gary Ellis, Pete Loncarevich, Christophe Leveque, Warwick Stevenson and Bubba Harris.
While Sam surely has nothing else to prove - and has already put his name in the BMX history books, he’s definitely not done dominating the sport. There was a lot on the line in 2014:
Could Sam tie Bubba Harris’ lone record of 3-in-a-row? At the same time, would he put a 4th No.1 Cup in his collection amd add his name alongside Ellis and Loncarevich as the only 4-in-a-lifetime Pro Champions?
Sam went to Tulsa looking like the favorite - winning the 2014 ROC, but was struggling a bit out of the gate in a couple of races. Unfortunately, a bad gate start in the all important Grands semi forced Sam to make up some ground from mid-pack, and while in the 4th place transfer spot he would up casing the berm-jump and going OTB. His weekend, his year and his quest for a record-setting No.1 Pro title was no over.
In 2015, Sam is again on target for the No.1 title - and we'll find out in November if he can earn himself a 4th No.1 Pro championship.