Trent Jones and Sarah Walker led a strong effort from the New Zealand BMX riders with four qualifying on the first day of the UCI World Cup Supercross in South Carolina, USA today.
The leading pair of Jones and Walker were in scintillating form in the final stop on the World Cup circuit this year, on the new track in Rock Hill, the venue for the 2017 world championships.
Jones won two of his qualifying motos and was second to top qualifier Corben Sharrah (USA) in the third race, to finish fifth in the rankings into tomorrow’s elimination races.
Walker showed no ill-effects from a fall in training to also win two motos and cruised through the final race to be seventh qualifier. More pleasing was that Walker was the fastest rider on the track today.
The pair will be joined on the second day by teammates Dan Franks and Matt Cameron. Franks was 22nd on the back of three third-placings in qualifying. Cameron had a tougher time, brought down in his second moto, he recovered well to win his final heat to qualify 26th.
Hannah Sarten was the only rider from Cycling New Zealand’s high performance squad to miss out, by the closest of margins. She was edged for the final qualifying position on countback in the elite women after she was brought down and could only manage sixth in the final moto to tie on points for the last qualifying spot.
The New Zealand team showed the benefits of two weeks of preparation at the venue.
The qualifiers are now joined by the 16 top ranked men and eight top ranked women, who were exempt from today’s qualifying.
There are a further three motos tomorrow with the top 32 women and top 64 men proceeding to the elimination rounds.