9 Aug 2018

New BMX track's fast-and-furious features challenge elite riders

"It is technically hard but also very fast, so you have to think really quickly. There is no room for mistakes and I like this."

Competitors who practised on Thursday for the BMX events on the new Olympic-standard track at Glasgow BMX Centre described it as "challenging".

First impressions were similar among the men and women who will get the action under way on Friday.

Denmark's Simone Tetsche Christensen took a spin around the very difficult and technical aspects of the Glasgow course and took it easy in the first laps of practice. Then she tried to go faster on each lap she took.

"I really like it because it separates the women a lot," said Christensen, who was ranked fifth at the recent World Championships. "It is technically hard but also very fast, so you have to think really quickly. There is no room for mistakes and I like this.

"The last two straights are very hard, especially for girls. A lot of things can happen down there because there's so much speed. The second straight is not so super difficult so I think it's hard to make a big difference there."

The track also features a couple of different options on the straights, where the riders can decide to take  different lines.

"I tried a lot of the options, especially on the last two straights," added Christensen. "At least you have options. If you get stuck in any situation, such as in traffic and you don't have that much speed, you can always do something different than what you planned. I think I got that covered. I can go full speed or less speed - that's important." 

Bethany Shriever (GBR), one of the best up-and-coming BMX riders and a home-crowd favourite, agreed with her Danish rival.

"It's tough. There's a lot of steep jumps and it's very different to some of the other tracks we've ridden," the 19-year-old British competitor said. "It's really challenging but everyone's going to be in the same boat. It's exciting."

European and World Champion Laura Smulders (NED) also picked out the straights as the deciding factor on the course.

"The first and second straights are definitely good," Smulders said. "They are fast and I think we will go into the second half of the track pretty quickly, but then it gets challenging. The second half is very technical so it will definitely be interesting to see who's going to be fast over that section."

The venue will also be equally challenging for the men, as World Cup leader and 2015 World Champion Niek Kimmann (NED) pointed out.

"Jumps are steep and you really have to be focused for the whole lap, and even the last straight is a bit tricky," Kimmann said. "I know it's the same for everyone but you have to stay focused all along it. This track suits the more technical riders."

BMX competition starts on Friday with the women's and men's qualifying motos heats. The final stages of the events are on Saturday.