Feature: BMX Supercross comes to Manchester


Paul Burgoine takes a look at BMX Supercross at the World Cup in Manchester last weekend

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Paul writes … First impressions of the track were “Wow that ramp is huge” and “wow it’s all concrete I wouldn’t fancy crashing on that”. I don’t think either of these things are really appreciated when you watch BMX on TV, the shear height of the ramp and the unforgiving concrete surface are quiet daunting.


I personally wouldn’t dream of attempting to descend the start hill on a BMX bike, maybe a MTB and I would give it a go. The format for the weekend was a time trial competition on the first evening for the Elite men and women with the top 16 qualifiers going through to the Superfinal. It was a fairly convincing win for Brits Liam Phillips and Shanaze Reade setting them up nicely for the Supercross.

Although I doubt it was easy for them, home advantage must have helped massively. The fact they can train on the track day in, day out. Saying, that an extra kicker was put in just before the first bend apparently to assist the women racers that obviously changed the way they approached the race.

The stand, which is along one side of the stadium was packed for Saturday’s evenings racing in anticipation of a home win and the format for the evening was the top 64 men and the top 32 women in heats of eight riders with points for the first four riders. There were three Moto’s or ‘runs’ with the best four riders in each heat going through to knock out rounds. It is a lot less confusing than it sounds!


Yet again former World Champion Shanaze Reade and Liam Phillips were impressing, breaking fast out of the start gate and never looking in danger of being beaten, except for Liam’s first Moto when he found himself up against World Champion Australian Sam Willoughby and had to settle for third place.

That was the only blip in a faultless performance. In fact, the pair never looked in danger of losing, but as we know too well from the Olympics, things can go so very wrong within seconds in BMX. The speed these riders race at, its amazing that there aren’t more accidents and believe me that concrete surface is quiet unforgiving. There were a few crashes of course but I think all the riders were ok. The unluckiest being Danish rider Simone Christensen who crashed hard in the time trial.

When I asked if she was ok on the Saturday, she said “I can’t walk but I can ride my bike, so it’s OK” and she then proceed to crash again in the Supercross! I suppose falls must be common place in this sport and possibly this is why a fast start is crucial for survival.


The Finals were all about Reade and Phillips. The races were almost theirs to lose but nothing is guaranteed. They were both totally focused while waiting for the start gate to drop, both riders in their respective finals hit the first bend in the lead and from then on never look like relinquishing it. The crowd went crazy and left for home happy after getting the result they wanted. It also bodes well for British BMX in the future showing we are force to be reckoned with.

The weekend wasn’t only about Reade and Phillips however. There is a whole host of talent in the squad such as Tre Whyte, Daniel Mc Bride, Kyle Evans who all had a good evening. Probably the most disappointed would have been Curtis Manaton who crashed out on the first bend in one of his moto’s.

For the women, Abbie Taylor had some impressive races and was a touch unlucky. After the men’s and women’s podium had finished, I caught up with the two Brits, firstly Shanaze Reade who started the conversation with “What do you want to talk about – One Direction!” No, how about Taylor Swift what do you think about her “Yeah, she’s OK”. The GB team are becoming a major force in BMX, what has made that happen? Shanaze replied “Well first and foremost this facility has been absolutely amazing. We can train day in, day out through the winter and that’s shown this weekend with me and Liam doubling up in the time trial and the racing.”

“But the person we need to thank is Grant White (an Aussie) the coach. Obviously we have the facility but we needed someone to implement things and give us the ingredient’s and Grant’s done an amazing job with myself and Liam”.


Did the home advantage make a difference to you? “Yeah absolutely. The stand was full and the support was fantastic. When we are here training, the place is silent so me and Liam just thrived off the atmosphere tonight. It really helped our performance”

How pleased were you with your starts from the gate tonight? “I did believe my start was good enough to win because I have been working on it. It’s different doing it in training to when the stands are full and you have seven other girls lining up with you also capable of winning. It becomes a mental thing. In the Olympics, I wasn’t able to get my fast start in the final so it’s great to put it all together here”.

I then spoke to Liam. Was that good to get that win under your belt Liam? “Yes, it’s something I have been working towards for a long time and it being on my home track, it’s as much of a win for all my friends and family, people I work with on a day to day basis. I wanted to go out and get the job done for myself but it’s great to share the win with everyone”.

It’s clear that the GB team are on the ascendance in BMX. “For sure. Me and Shanaze are just at the top of the pile at the moment but there is a whole depth of talent waiting to come through. I think most of it is down to this facility and world class coaching and you put all that together and you will get success”.


How did you feel in the final? “Well, you just get into a routine and for me it was just about doing another lap and I knew from my time trial experience that if I got out in front, it was going to be hard to pass me. The inside gate was key this weekend. The new ramp they put in was a real curve ball. I still don’t see the logic in that. I spend months training for this and then a ramp gets put in that means you can’t pedal”.

How did you feel the evening went overall? “Yeah, talk about getting thrown in at the deep end. Sam Willoughby last season was extremely dominant winning almost everything and to be with him from the first round, it was just straight down to business. I thought I might just be able to ease my way into the competition. It was nice looking back now going toe to toe with the World Champion. I’m just glad to come away with the win.”

My thanks to Shanaze and Liam for the chat. This was a great experience for me and exciting racing to watch. If you every get the chance to watch BMX or get to Manchester to try it for yourself, I doubt you will be disappointed.


RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK

Tags: ,