Following the World Cup rounds in Argentina, we flew to Tampa, Florida to spend two weeks in this part of the USA. Saya and I took off to different places from here - Saya to the Red Bull Pump Track World Championships in Arkansas, and myself to Sarasota, Florida to race the USABMX Sunshine State National.
We were able to get a couple of solid sessions in at the Sarasota track prior to racing, so I came into the event comfortable with the track and confident with my riding. It was a pretty stacked weekend, with 29 riders in the Elite Men class. Outside the usual USABMX contenders, there was a solid crew from France including World Champ Sylvain André, and a number of riders from South America too. It was looking to be a tight weekend of racing.
Day 1 flowed through nicely for me. I went 1st, 2nd, 3rd in the motos, and came through in 3rd in the semi final after a close call with Joris Daudet leading into the second corner. With lane 1 in the final, I was able to put myself into podium position into the first corner and held onto it. I came away with a 3rd place finish - my first USABMX Pro Podium! I was super stoked with this result.
Day 2 was consistent as well, going 2nd, 2nd, 3rd in the motos, with a 1st in the semi final. I had 2nd lane choice in the final, and went for lane 1. My start just wasn’t quite my best. My first straight run was okay, but Connor Fields shut me down on the jump into the first corner, leaving me no place but to case the jump and decelerate into the corner. I came out of the corner in 5th.
My run from here was pretty clean, but I just wasn’t able to make enough ground to pass Corben Sharrah for 4th. A 5th place finish for Day 2.
My only disappointment, and something that needs work on from the weekend was in my ability to adapt to the start gate in Sarasota. The gate speed was a touch slow, and I wasn’t able to master this gate to execute my start with 100% confidence every race. However, I have to commend myself with getting the best results I ever have at a Pro race in the USA, and the fact that it is now normal for me to be in these finals every weekend. It’s now about taking this another step further to make the podium a ‘normal’ place for me to be.
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PEDAL FOR THE MEDAL: THE SAKAKIBARA SIBLINGS BID FOR OLYMPIC GLORY