‘Machine’ out of Supercross

2011-03-26 00:00

THE title race in the season-opening UCI BMX Supercross World Cup has been thrown wide open with World Champion Maris Strombergs confirming that he will not be able to compete in next month’s event in Pietermaritzburg due to injuries he sustained in a recent BMX crash that have not healed.

“The Machine” as Strombergs is commonly nicknamed, broke the scaphoid bone in his hand, dislocated his wrist and damaged his AC ligaments in his shoulder when he crashed out of the ABA Grands late last year.

He underwent surgery on his hand and wrist on the day of his accident and then on his shoulder a month later. But he has not recovered sufficiently to be able to take his place on the start line in Pietermaritzburg on April 8, and has a little way to go before he can start contemplating racing again.

“My shoulder is feeling a lot better and isn’t bothering me at all anymore, but my arm is still in a cast and the little bone in my hand isn’t healing as fast as I would like it to. My cast comes off shortly though, and I’ll start therapy on my wrist and shoulder at the same time,” said Strombergs.

“Its frustrating not being able to ride my bike. I’m really starting to miss racing and that feeling you get when you’re standing on the gates or as you cross the finish line, but I guess I’ve just got to try stay patient and focus on getting fit again.

“The plan at this stage is to be ready to race at the Worlds again where I’ll try defend my title. Hopefully things go well, and who knows, maybe I can be back a little sooner than that.”

With the widely feared Latvian being out of the Pietermaritzburg event, along with local hero Sifiso Nhlapo, many of the two Olympic finalists’ nearest rivals will be eager to take advantage of this opportunity to get their seasons off on a positive note.

Said Strombergs, “Marc Willers is riding really well of late and there are a couple of the French guys who have been doing well too, but I have to go with Sam Willoughby for the win in Pietermaritzburg.”

Despite not being able to take part in the Supercross in “Sleepy Hollow” this time round, Strombergs fondly remembers the crowds and their enthusiasm from last year’s World Champs.

“The crowd was awesome! There were more people than I expected and they were really loud, which as athletes we really enjoy because it definitely gives us an extra boost of energy.

“I love Supercross races. There is always a great atmosphere around them and they’re awesome events to be a part of, so not to be able to compete in the Pietermaritzburg event is very disappointing for me.

“Pietermaritzburg is where I won my second World Elite title, so it will always be a special place for me and I would have loved to have come back again this year.

“However with my injuries and all the doctors’ appointments and therapy sessions that I now have ahead of me, unfortunately that just isn’t possible.”

The Pietermaritzburg leg of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup takes place at Alexander Park on April 8 and 9.

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