Champagne was flowing again on the BMX Supercross course at the United States Olympic Training Center-Chula Vista.
Those sloshing around the bubbly after last Saturday’s finals of the opening leg of the 2012 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup were Connor Fields, David Herman and Amanda Geving of the United States.
Fields and Herman finished first and third, respectively, while Geving was third behind French- women Magalie Pottier and Laetitia le Corguille.
Fields and Herman were back on the awards stand, in the same order, for Sunday’s finals of the USA Cycling BMX national championships. They were joined by fellow Americans Nic Long (second in the men’s race) and, in finishing order among women riders, Alise Post, Amanda Carr and Arielle Martin.
It was the start of a busy year for BMX racing as qualifying heats up for berths in this summer’s London Olympic Games.
“I felt confident coming in,” said Fields, who earlier in the time trials set a new track record of 33.648 seconds. “We were inches from each other out there on the track but I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to back down. I want to keep the momentum going.”
Points earned in the two races will be added to points earned from two previous races and three upcoming races to determine U.S. athletes’ BMX power ranking. The top-ranked male and female American riders automatically qualify for the 2012 Olympic team.
A separate U.S. Olympic Trials men’s race will take place June 16 on the new London Games-replica track at the Chula Vista facility. Final selections will be officially announced on June 18.
Forty-eight BMX riders (men and women) will compete in London.
Last weekend’s Supercross race began with 202 riders from 29 countries and was pared down to 64 men and 32 women for last Saturday’s championship rounds. Thirty-one elite men and seven elite women took part in Sunday’s national championship race.
Post successfully defended her national title; Geving (third), Post (fourth), Carr (sixth) and Crain (eighth) were among four American women in the World Cup finals race.
The top three-ranked American men include Fields (510 points), Herman (405 points) and Long (305 points); the top three-ranked American women include Martin (370 points), Brooke Crain (335 points) and Geving (293 points).
London Games-replica Supercross training course dedicated in Chula Vista
The Beijing Olympics-replica Supercross track at the U.S. Olympic Training Center-Chula Vista has served its purpose well. Designed to allow OTC resident athletes the opportunity to train on the same track that would be used in the 2008 Summer Games, it provided riders a golden chance to get an edge on the international competition.
Results from China spoke for themselves: Americans captured three of the six possible medals as BMX made its official Olympic debut.
Now, London is calling.
Last Saturday, OTC officials and local dignitaries unveiled the 155-acre facility’s newest on-site venue: a replica of the BMX track that will be used in this summer’s London Games.
OTC resident athlete Arielle Martin, who said she likely holds the honor of turning in the most laps on the Beijing-replica track, cut the ceremonial ribbon.
“For those who don’t know BMX, they don’t understand what it means to have a replica track,” Martin said. “I am so thrilled at this. We all want to get out there this summer and show what we can do because of being able to train on a replica track.”
The new track, which involved moving 20,000 yards of dirt at a cost of $650,000, is expected to be completed within the next two weeks. It is built into a natural hillside and offers a sweeping panoramic view of the Lower Otay Reservoir.
One might say that the track is the training center’s newest sparkling addition.
“It’s a gorgeous lay-out,” OTC-CV director Tracy Lamb said.
Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox called BMX racing “one of the most exciting sporting events in Chula Vista.”
“Watching these cyclists take flight is an amazing sight,” she said. “Chula Vista is so proud to have the BMX riders here. We’re excited to have all the competitors represent their country in a sport that is nothing short of amazing to watch.”
Satellite images of the actual London BMX track were used to create the OTC replica track. It is hoped quick completion will allow riders 100 days to train on the London Games-replica course before the Games of the XXX Olympiad open.
The OTC BMX layout now includes three tracks: two Olympic replica tracks and a youth development track.
Lamb said the track should help inspire a new set of dreams.
“Every one of these riders will tell you it all started with a vision of where they wanted to go,” he said. “Hopefully, we can give more kids a lot of visions.”