World champion Caroline Buchanan and Olympic silver medallist Sam Willoughby have won the elite titles at the national BMX championships in Victoria.
London Olympic silver medallist Sam Willoughby and reigning world champion Caroline Buchanan scored contrasting victories in claiming the elite men’s and women’s titles on Saturday at the 2014 national BMX championships in Shepparton.
The duo won back national crowns they both last claimed in 2011, with the victories complimenting the Oceania Championships the pair snared on Thursday night.
Willoughby, the 2012 world champion, had to fight all the way to defeat rising star Anthony Dean and National Series winner Bodi Turner but Buchanan’s red-hot win was far more comprehensive.
Willoughby, who had said he did not want to disappoint, made a typically blistering start but fellow South Australian Dean – also based in San Diego – immediately threw out a challenge.
There was nothing between the pair at the end of the first and second straights before Willoughby showed his class to push ahead and seal the title.
“I’m happy to get that one,” he said.
“It wasn’t the lap I visualised but I got to the finish first so I’ll take it.
“It’s a long track, add some rain and all the support from everyone here that always overwhelms me when I come home. It’s surreal.”
In the women’s, Buchanan beat home Leanna Curtis (NSW) and Kirsten Dellar (WA) to continue a winning streak at major events this year that includes the first round of the UCI Supercross World Cup, the Oceania crown and now the National Championship.
Buchanan said she was unaware of how much of a lead she had until the end of the race and didn’t stop pedalling until she was within metres of the finish line, even though she was 10 metres in front of her nearest rival.
“I really didn’t know how far in front I was,” Buchanan said.
“BMX is never over until the finish line and I am always trying to challenge myself for that world stage. I’m really hungry for Rio.”
Other impressive winners were elite junior stars Jade Parker (Qld) and Max Cairns (Vic), 14 boys’ phenomenon Jaden Rice (Vic) and Queenslander Sara Jones in the 15 girls.