2018 UCI BMX Worlds: The Big Finish

June 10, 2018 by  

2018 UCI BMX World Champions
The 2018 UCI BMX World Championships came to an epic close Saturday, with a full day of Championship (aka Junior and Elite) Class racing. While the schedule called for the qualifying motos to take place on Friday, Mother Nature had other plans, as winds off the Caspian kicked up, so as to make the Elite side unsafe.

The single-elimination rounds were already scheduled to run under the lights, starting at 8:40PM, local time. So the motos, previously-scheduled for a similar timeslot on Friday night, would run Saturday at 6:10PM.

Unlike the Challenge classes earlier in the week, the Championship classes were not live streamed on, due to the sale of TV rights in various markets (including North America). Thus, every BMX fan with a computer or phone mobbed onto social media to try and find a stream–any stream, to see it live. One of the popular ones (and one we used, thanks to G-MO’s advice on Facebook) was on Azer TV, with commentary in the native language. Ah, the joys of the Internet.

Olympic Channel Lead-In for 2018 UCI BMX World ChampionshipsUltimately, we learned that was also streaming the action (thanks, Steve Diamond Elements), though it took a minute to find it; they had an image of a mountain biker, and only tiny-type mention of BMX in their headline (above). That one was better than the Azer TV stream, with Dr. Jason Richardson, and partner on the mic.

When it came time for the main events, four Americans were still in the program– Sephani Morin in Junior Women, Alise Willoughby and Brooke Crain in Elite Women and Corben Sharrah in Elite Men.

Of course it wasn’t all about Team USA. Russia, France and The Netherlands all had big horsepower at the top of the 8-meter hill when it was do-or-die time. Some did, some died (BMXically-speaking).

We could give the the play by play in written form, but for main events with this much action and changes in fortune, you need to see it in living color, via the vids below.

Plus, so-as to not spoil the many surprises to come, on the way to the above set of rainbow jersey winners, we’ll link the results after the video (opening in a new window or tab), instead of showing them.

Junior Women Main Event

Junior Women Main Event Results

Junior Men Main Event

Junior Men Main Event Results

Elite Women Main Event

Elite Women Main Event Results

Elite Men Main Event

Elite Men Main Event Results

WOW!…Just-WOW! As heartbroken as we are for Alise, Brooke and Corben, with their respective misfortunes in the main event, as BMX fans, racing rarely gets better than this. Any sports movie writer would do-well to model this event for their big finish.

A podium sweep by the Dutch Women, with two sisters in the Gold and Silver spots; a .006/sec upset at the line by a pair of French stars (who, by the way, went 2-3, in the same order, last year in Rock Hill); plus a relatively-unknown, but way-fast Brazilian, taking up the three-spot late in the lap in Elite Men.

And we hope you didn’t just skip the Junior mains. Both had a stack of names you will be seeing in coming World Cup, USA BMX and/or World Championship results, not the least of which are Indy Scheepers (NED), Avriana Hebert (CAN), and Stephani Morin (USA) in Junior Women; as well as Leo Garoyan (FRA), Juan Valencia (COL), Mauricio Molina (CHI), and Kye Afoo (AUS) in Junior Men, along with the other main makers.

The stage is now set for the 2019 Worlds, with the ceremonial flag having been officially-handed over to organizers from Zolder, Belgium. And it won’t be all-too-long til the world comes back to the USA in 2020, for a Texas-sized hoedown in Houston.

The reports coming back from challenge class families who made the trip are singing the praises of their Baku experience in a big way. Full disclosure: we were VERY skeptical of this location, and said-so many times, since the host city was announced. We were wrong in our assessment, which makes us more glad than sad. We’re betting that Baku hasn’t seen the last of World-level BMX Racing.

—Mike Carruth

Photos By Craig Dutton

Championship Class Practice, Day One

Championship Class Practice, Day Two

Championship Class Racing

Craig’s Photos From Earlier in Worlds Week

Challenge Class Practice, Day One

Challenge Class Practice, Day Two

Challenge Cruiser Racing

13-Under Challenge Racing

14-Over Challenge Racing