Pro day in South Africa is now in the books, and Redline’s Global riders were all over the mains and brought home a Bronze medal in all four categories ... not to mention ONE GOLD!
Here’s how the mains went down:
JR.WOMEN: Merle vanBENTHAM won it wire-to-wire in the Jr.WOMENS final. Australian Redline rider Melinda McLEOD was also in the hunt, in her first outing for JrWomen, and did her best to reel in 2nd place Brooke Crain, who was puttin’ the pressure on Merle. But the Dutch gal was unbeatable, and didn’t make any mistakes, for her victory. McLeod held on for third – putting two Redline Flight bikes on the Worlds podium, and giving us our first of four Bronze medals.
Dutch coach Bas DeBever was thrilled with this win for the Dutch~Redline National team, and give Merle a hug bearhug at the finishline.
JR ELITE: With Canadian TORY NYHAUG out of commision due to his spleen-splintering crash in practice, it was up to our Dutch, New Zealand and Norwegian Jr’s to get the job done. The Netherland’s rising-star, Twan vanGENDT, looked to be a factor throughout the motos, and moved on to the big show, while Norway’s Aleksander BIRKLAND and NZ’s Trent WOODCOCK had some unfortunate luck in the semi’s.
Going in to the main, VenGendt looked to be a favorite, but would have his work cut out for him against USA’s Connor Fields and Corben Sharrah. As many had predicted, Fields immedaitely shot to the front and was pullin’ away from the pack like a madman on fire. Meanwhile, our man in Orange – Twan, was battling with the rest of the pack; fighting over who’ll take 2nd thru 4th. With a comfortable 4 or 5 bike length lead, Fields suddenly self-imploded down the third straight away, and suddenly vanGENDT found himself handed the third place spot. And that’s the way it’s go across the line – scoring Redline and the Dutch National team a bronze.
ELITE WOMEN: ALISE POST (USA) made her first Elite Womens main, and during qualifying had been the closest rider to catch Olympic silver medalist Latetia LeCorguile from France. With Latetia’s domination of the Euro Champ series, and wins from the last three SX races, it seemed that she’d be the one to beat. In the first moto, UK’s Shanaze READE seemed to be having trouble with the jump-filled second straight, and would have to get her head together for the final if she wanted to regain her post Rainbow-striped World Champ jersey.
In the final, ALISE started from lane 6, and once the gate popped, she fought hard down the first straightaway to move in to the front of the pack. Looking strong, and extremely smooth, Post and her 2011 Flight bike powered and styled their way behind the two prior World Champions from the past 3 years. Ex-Redline rider from the UK, Shanaze Reade, regained her World No.1 title with pure power, while the defending World Champ Sarah Walker held off Alise for the 2-spot.
Score yet another bronze medal for Team Redline – and congratulations go out to Alise for making the USA look good.
"I am very happy," Alise IM’ed us from Facebook following the race. "I rode good in the semis and finals. I just didn’t have the most perfect start in the main. But I am still happy with the bronze medal. I had some stacked motos .. but best of all, I didn’t crash in the first turn in my semi or main!"
ELITE MEN: During qualifying, there were 4 riders with a sweet score of 1-1-1 for their three rounds. And we were extremely pleased, that 3 of those 4 were aboard Redline bikes. Sam Wiloughby, Raymon van der Biezen and Joris Daduet, along with The Machine, all had a low 3 points after their 1/8th Motos.
Going in to the semi’s, Redline had a good shot at filling half, if not more, of the World’s gate. In Semi 1, we saw all three final main makers transfer out, with Italy’s Manuel DeVecchi comin’ in close but just barely missing out. In the next semi, Sander Bissiling was also lookin’ strong, but got balled up on the second stretch and wasn’t able to get back in to the top-4.
Thus; our three Elite’s who moved on to the Mens main event were: Sam Willoughby (Australia), Raymon van der BIEZEN (Netherlands), and Joris DAUDET (France).
Most notably was that for the first time in BMX history – not one single USA rider made the cut for the Elite final. Denzel STEIN had hoped to be The Man for Team USA, to defend our honor; but he’d gotten lose in the last turn and lost the transfer spot. It was a dark, sad day for USA BMX.
"The Worlds was a great event and I’m glad to have been picked to come here," texted Denzel from his hotel after the race. "I rode really good. I didn’t punk out in any of my races, and I felt like I was riding good. I just still had some tough luck, but I’m still proud of myself.There is more to come for the People’s Champ. The guys with USA Cycling all told me that I didn’t let them down, so I’ll be sure to light it up in my backyard (Chula Vista in September)."
Throughout the day, riders were choosing the outside lanes – thanks to an ultra-wide first straightaway where you could just go full throttle open – as long as you had a full tank of gas in teh tank. Thus, for the main, the Gold medalist machine Maris Stromsberg opted for lane 8, while our three Redline heroes took lane 6 (Sam), lane 4 (Raymon) and in 1 (Joris Daudet).
As many were predicting, Maris was the man on a mission, and holeshotted from the outside. South Africa’s Cinderella-story, Silfaso Nhlapo, was also charging right up to the front. Meanwhile, our Redline riders seemed to be getting the squeeze, and Sam Willoughby found himself in the 4th place spot and was anxious to make a move. Trying a move up high in the first turn, Willoughby suddenly washed out and took two other riders down with him. Disapointedly, he’d get back up, dust himself off and finish 7th. Amazingly, Daudet and van der Beizen were able to avoid Sam’s carnage, and the Frenchman blasted his way in to the third spot. Hot on the tail of crowd-favorite Skizo, Joris couldn’t manage to make a move, and if he had – it would’ve likely caused a riot as the South African fans tooting their left-over World Cup horns, were thrilled to see their hero chasing down Stromsberg.
Across the line, it was Maris, Silfaso and Joris, 1-2-3. …for those counting, that’s 4 bronze medals for Redline.
"The final was eight of the best racers," summed up Denzel from his Facebook acount. "I wish my Aussie team mate would’ve won it, but Maris and Skizo had a great race. Nhalpo’s second place should feel like a first in his home town! Good job to those guys, for sure."
1. Merle vanBENTHAM (REDLINE/The Netherlands)
2. Brooke Crain (USA)
3. Melinda McLEOD (REDLINE/Australia)
1. Sylvian Andre (France)
2. Kristers Lejins (Latvia)
3. Twan vanGENDT (REDLINE/The Netherlands)
1. Shanaze Reade (UK)
2. Sarah Walker (New Zealand)
3. ALISE POST (REDLINE/USA)
1. Maris stromsberg (LAtvia)
2. Silfaso Nhlapo (South Africa)
3. Joris DAUDET (REDLINE/France)
5. Raymon vanDerBIEZEN (REDLINE/The Netherlands)
7. Sam WILLOUGHBY (REDLINE/Australia)