Australia remains the top nation in the latest BMX World Rankings released this week by the International Cycling Union (UCI).
In the men's competition Australia, with a total of 2685 points, is 101 points ahead of France (2584) and the USA is sitting third on 2458 points. In the women's rankings Australia's tally of 2865 points is 247 more than the USA's total of 2618 with France almost 600 points back in third with 2045 points.
In the individual rider rankings there was more good news for the Australians as they prepare for the UCI BMX World Championships being staged in Copenhagen, Denmark from 27 to 31 July.
2009 Supercross series champion and two time junior world champion, Sam Willoughby, remains ranked second in the world on 938 points, just 20 points behind New Zealand's Marc Willers who took over the top spot after victory in the recent round of the Supercross World Cup Series in Papendal, Holland. South Australian Brian Kirkham (732 points) has moved up from seventh to fourth in the rankings due to making the final in Papendal whilst Khalen Young is the next best Australian with 495 points to be ranked thirteenth.
Australia has two other men in the elite top 25 with Luke Madill ranked 20th (402 points) and Josh Callan 25th (307 points).
2011 Australian champion Caroline Buchanan posted a third place finish in Papendal to maintain third place on the rankings with 876 points. Her team mate Lauren Reynolds is ranked fourth with 776 points. Rachel Bracken rounds out the top ten ranked women in the world with 561 points. Colombian Mariana Pajon leads the women's table on 968 points, 73 points ahead of Sarah Walker (NZL) who is sitting second.
West Australian Darryn Goodwin tops the junior rankings with 425 points, more than 100 points clear of his nearest rival. Queensland's Melinda McLeod is the second ranked junior woman with 435 points behind American Brooke Cain who has 610 points.
The Australians are motivated to maintain their nation ranking as this will determine the number Australian riders we qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The BMX High Performance program and the sport received a welcome boost on the weekend with the opening of a $4.8 million BMX track at the Sleeman Sports Complex in Brisbane.
The track was officially opened by Sport Minister Phil Reeves, State Member for Chatsworth Steve Kilburn and BMX Australia President Barry Knight. Mr Reeves says the state of the art facilities offer riders of all levels a chance to experience a track of Olympic standard.
"This BMX track is an Australian first and is great for fans and riders alike," he said. "There are currently 32 BMX clubs across Queensland and the popularity of this sport continues to grow.
"The Bligh Government's investment of $4.8 million is a ripper for riders, and with London 2012 just around the corner it will be put to very good use as elite training squads prepare for the Games.
"Queensland will be the training ground for many Olympians and this is also great for grass-roots BMX and the local economy."
State Member for Chatsworth Steve Kilburn says Sleeman Sports Complex remains a cutting-edge training venue.
"The Bligh Government is currently investing $15.3 million to install a new pool, a water-based jumps facility for aerial skiers and this new BMX track, to ensure Sleeman remains a world-class sporting complex," said Mr Kilburn. "Along with Sleeman's other facilities (pool, gymnasium, catering and accommodation), this Complex is perfect for squad training and the feedback from the BMX community and elite training groups is they can't wait to give the track a good workout."
BMX Australia President Barry Knight says this is another step forward for BMX in Australia.
"The building of a Supercross BMX track in Australia is a wonderful facility to support the growing number of club and elite riders participating in the sport. We currently have more than 7,000 registered BMX riders and this number is growing all the time.
"Having access to a facility like this will improve riders skill levels, fitness and make them more competitive on the international stage," said Mr Knight. "Coming off the first ever BMX Olympic event at the 2008 Olympic Games, this track will be of exceptional benefit to our Olympic hopefuls for London 2012, giving our riders the chance to train on a world class track."
- $4.8 million Bligh Government investment for the BMX facility
- The track features two start ramps (5m and 8m with an 18/28° sloping angle) with major double-jumps, step ups and a technical 'rhythm section, and riders will hit speeds of up to 60km/h around the 400 metre tracks
- More than 330 registered riders aged from 8 years of age to 45+ from as a far afield as New Zealand, Tamworth, Victoria and regional Queensland competed over the weekend in the opening event
- The popularity of cycling in general continues to grow and the following for BMX (in terms of numbers) in Australia is second only to the United States
- More than 840,000 people use Sleeman every year, and the complex has onsite accommodation for training camps and a number of other facilities (gym, aquatic centre) which could be utilised when riders are not tackling the new track
Sleeman currently undergoing $17.3 million upgrade– the largest since it was established for the 1982 Commonwealth Games – to install a new pool, BMX track and another Australian first, a water-based jumps facility for aerial skiers
- The new facilities have been developed in consultation with design experts
- from the UCI