Aussie to aim high

2011-04-06 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG — Australian star racer Sam Willoughby is determined to kickstart his BMX season on a high note at the UCI BMX Supercross in Pietermaritzburg this weekend, and says he is feeling fresher and stronger than ever before.

The Australian flyer, currently ranked number two in the world behind Maris “The Machine” Strombergs, has been in solid form recently and after a slight shift in focus and a good preparation period, he will be eager to get some valuable points on the board at the World Cup season opener.

“I’m feeling really good at the moment. I have had a couple of races in the U.S. recently so have had some good preparation there and all my efforts have been focussed on gearing up for the World Cup season,” said Willoughby.

“I’m feeling a lot fresher than I did last year. I’ve shifted my focus a little and I want to be spending a little more time focussing on these races compared to the amount of my time that I spent on the ABA series last year.

“I managed to get a race in at Phoenix a couple of weeks ago which has a Supercross hill and I don’t get to use a hill too often so it was great to get that little bit of extra practice in and hopefully that will also help going into this weekend,” he added.

Having spent a couple of days in Pietermaritzburg Willoughby was able to head down to Alexandra Park on Tuesday morning to get a sneak peak at Tom Ritzenthaler’s masterpiece.

“The track really looks very cool, it looks pretty tight and I think there might be a fair amount of follow-the-leader especially in the first few rounds whilst everyone tries to get used to it,” said Willoughby.

“I would imagine there won’t be too much passing in the corners as they look really tight so we’ll have to work really hard on the straights to get past, but I’m happy that my speed is where it needs to be coming into a big race like this.”

I think everyone will just have to be a bit more patient and definitely a little more creative than usual.”

“I really like the idea of changing a few things up on the track. They’ve taken it away from the traditional M-shape which I think is really healthy for the sport!” he added.

With competition expected to be of a very high standard and the event being part of many riders’ Olympic qualifying processes, a lot hinges on the Pietermaritzburg event and how the riders perform.

“All considered the start of this season is huge and so obviously I’m hoping to start well. It’s not only about the points, but to start off on a good note helps you develop some momentum going into the rest of the series,” said Willoughby.

The UCI BMX Supercross takes place at Alexandra Park on 8 and 9 April. — GameplanMedia.

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