Race Report - UCI World Cup Round 7-8


UCI World Cup Rounds 7-8 / 29-30 September 2019 / Santiago del Estero, Argentina

Kai

Class: Elite Men

Result: Round 7: 69th

Round 8: 17th

Saya

Class: Elite Women

Result: Round 7: 14th

Round 8: 1st

Saya:

Argentina’s Santiago del Estero hosted the last two rounds of the UCI Supercross World Cup circuit for 2018.

It was my first time in Argentina which was exciting, and on top of that, I was ranked 3rd in overall series points so I was aiming to keep the position or go one step further to 2nd! I was so excited to be back racing a World Cup again, especially after the last round being almost 4 months ago.

For day 1, the temperatures were expected to rise up to 40 degrees so we had to ensure that our bodies were hydrated and stayed cool throughout the course of the day.

The first round was a little rough, casing things and making lots of mistakes but I got through the lap with a win!

There was a 3.5 hour gap between our first round and our quarter final so I had to chance to ride back to the hotel, have some lunch and chill out in the air con for a little while to cool off.

When i returned for quarter finals, it was around 3pm and it was the hottest time of the day. It was a little windy but the breeze would be so hot as well that there was no escape from the heat what so ever.

I came 2nd in my quarter. I had a good gate and I was in front down the hill but I struggled went side ways over the first jump which put me in 2nd place behind Felicia Stencil. I had a good lap.

Semi finals were up and I didn’t know if it was the heat or if it was the nerves, that I started to feel a little sick. I tried my best not to think about it.

I had a great gate from lane 3 but I stuffed up the first jump again which set me back a little bit

but I was in top 3 coming into the first corner. I wasn’t aggressive enough and I let Brooke Crain come through on the inside. With mistakes at the start if the 2nd straight I was on the bubble fighting for 4th position when I noticed the big gap on the inside, and I lined myself up to make that move on the 2nd corner into 4th position. Then out of nowhere I saw Brooke get flown off her bike and her bike flying right in front of me. I got caught up with her bike and then I was on the ground.

Man, I was a little frustrated because I had a chance to get into the final, but I was happy that I wasn’t too hurt. Watching the videos, the crash was spectacular and I think we were both lucky to come out of it with no serious injuries.

I woke up with tight neck muscles but that was the only thing that was sore so I was good to give it another go for day 2. I was in first round with Alise Willoughby and Merel Smulders and again I went sketchy over the first jump which nearly cost me my 2nd place position into the first corner. It was a tight line around the corner with Merel coming in hot from the outside but I managed to get in and hold my 2nd position.

In my quarter, I had lane 1 and I had a good gate again. I finally sorted out my first jump and got it perfect! I finished the race 1st.

Time for semi finals. I had 2nd pick after a good lap time in the quarter final, which put me in lane 2 next to Alise. I had a awesome gate again and I was able to get the holeshot into the first corner. Once I was in front, I stayed in front to the end! Yes! I was in the final.

I was third qualifier and I chose lane 3. I was nervous but I kept telling myself just to ride my own race, and what ever happens, happens. I had a great start and I was in line with Laura Smulders on the inside and Alise on the outside of me over the first jump. I went a little side ways but both Laura and Alise cased the jump badly so I was able to get my wheel in front and holeshot into the first corner. I had the lead! But I knew I had to do a ride of a lifetime to stop anyone beating me.

I had a solid lap but I saw Laura creep up on the outside of me on the 3rd straight so I took the last corner high and hoped my legs will hold up until the end. It was so close on the line with Laura on my right and Alise on my left. It was a photo finish at the end… And i got it! I won a World Cup! I was so stoked and I couldn’t believe it!

Wow what an end to the 2018 World Cup season! With that win under my belt, I got myself into 2nd place in the overall series! I couldn’t be happier with the way I was able to come back from the crash in Day 1 and to pull it together for day 2. Now time to get stuck into off season work, to come back next year stronger!

Kai:

And it had arrived. The final World Cup of the year. This event was the major reason for our time training in the USA, and was also an important event being the first World Cup within the Olympic Qualification period.

The trip had a chaotic start. Due to the airports in Argentina going on strike, our flight (with planned arrival on Tuesday afternoon) was cancelled. We were then put onto flights with a planned arrival on Thursday afternoon (the evening before practice day), before finding spots on a full flight arriving on Wednesday afternoon instead.

It was stressful, but I was just thankful that we were able arrive in the country at a reasonable time. There were other teams that were worse off.

I was feeling great, and I put no result-based expectations on myself for the weekend. My only expectations/goals were to perform to my full capabilities - that is, sticking to my routine physically and mentally, and allowing myself to execute on the track.

I got unlucky in Round 7, where Twan van Gendt from Netherlands got untidy in front me in the 1/16 Final. He ended up riding directly into my trajectory on the track, and I landed on his back wheel. We both crashed out in qualifying positions.

I was able to avoid this sort of carnage in Round 8, comfortably qualifying through to the 1/4 Final. I was in 3rd coming around the last corner, but bonked the pre-lift onto the table top. This literally felt like the only thing that messed up, but it slowed me down enough to allow Renaud Blanc and Dave vd Burg to pass me on the line. I missed out by 0.04 seconds.

It was an interesting weekend for me. I was feeling the best I’d ever had at a World Cup, but it was close to one of my worst weekends this year, results wise. If I was to round up my weekend purely based on results, it would be a total failure, but this was not how I felt about how my weekend unfolded. It was the most consistent weekend that I had ever had with my gate starts, and I was able to execute my winning routine over and over again no matter the distractions. Although the results didn’t show it (due to bad luck in day 1 and a small mistake in day 2), the weekend has given me more confidence than ever to what I can truly accomplish at this level.

Just like anyone, I want everything right now, but I under

stand that I’ve never been the person to suddenly pop up and get results. It’s always a slow but steady grind for me, but constantly improving and rarely travelling backwards. I felt like I levelled up again over the weekend in Argentina.

I can feel some great results coming in the very near future.

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