Teenage BMX Trent Jones secured his second straight semi-final at the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in The Netherlands at the weekend.
The 19 year old from North Canterbury was in superb form at the second round of the World Cup staged outdoors in wet and windy conditions at Papendal. It was not such good news for world championship silver medallist Marc Willers who was caught up in two crashes and did not progress from the qualifying motos for the first time.
The two riders were the only BikeNZ high performance riders competing at Papendal, along with North Harbour’s Michael Bias who rode well with a third and fourth place in elimination rounds, unluckily he crashed in third place in the final elimination moto.
Wet weather delayed racing on the first day and the slippery track made for challenging conditions on day two.
Jones, who missed out on a spot in the final in Manchester by one place, was in impressive early form to finish second overall from his group after the three morning motos. He enjoyed two second placings and a third to qualify second behind American Steven Cisar.
He was second in the quarterfinal from gate five, finishing behind local star Jelle van Gorkom but enjoying a big scalp by holding off Olympic medallist Sam Willoughby (AUS), who was making his World Cup season debut.
Jones got caught up as two riders crashed in front of him in the semi-final and his evasive actions meant he had to settle for sixth place to miss out on the final. “Trent rode really well all weekend and was definitely unlucky not to make the main. It will come and he is developing very well,” said BikeNZ national coach Ryan Hollows.
Willers got on the wrong side of two crashes and heavy traffic in his motos, with his three sixth placings not enough to progress to the elimination races. “Marc was in the wrong place in two of his motos. Unfortunately that’s racing on what was a tough two days where the weather played such a big part in the outcome,” said Hollows.
Willoughby showed his class to win his semifinal from the outside gate and grab the prime draw for the final which he won from Twan van Gendt (NED) and first round winner Liam Phillips (GBR) who won the world title in Auckland last year.
Olympic medallist Laura Smulders (NED) gave the locals plenty to shout about in winning the women’s final from rising star Felicia Stancil (USA).
New Zealand will field a full squad in the third round of the World Cup in Berlin next month as a lead-up to the world championships in The Netherlands, to be staged indoors in Rotterdam.