Bennett Greenough reversed Saturday’s result to win the Under 23 Men’s final to highlight kiwi performances in the second round of the BMX Racing World Cup at Rotorua.
The Cambridge 20-year-old needed a “bike throw” at the finish line to make sure he shut out runner-up Oliver Moran from Australia.
On Saturday he finished second to younger brother Jack, who had to be content with fourth today.
“It was an amazing race and a great opportunity. To take my first win at this level at home is special,” said Bennett. “The support has been amazing and the crowd was incredible.”
Apart from being pipped at the finish of his semi-final Bennett won every race today.
“I just tried to keep focused and take one race at a time.” Disappointed after being beaten by his younger brother yesterday Bennett admitted that had provided added pressure. “But it also made it more exciting and you get the rewards.”
“I was just glad to put a full lap together in the final.”
He says the sibling rivalry is a positive.
“Jack’s a great training partner and we push one another.”
The pair’s efforts over the two days have added to New Zealand’s haul of qualifying points for the Paris Olympics.
The crowd also got behind New Zealand’s other riders in the field of 200.
In his first competition at elite level, even though he could have stayed in the Under 23 competition, 21-year-old Rico Bearman from North Harbour made the semifinals of the Elite Men.
“Making a semi was one of the goals and I am pretty happy with that,” said Bearman. “I had a really good start in the semi, but I got a bit excited and went backwards.” He finished sixth after earlier having a second, winning his eighth final and second in his quarter final.
“For my first race in elites, it was a good start and some good learnings. I can only build from here.”
Michael Bias was unlucky to get eliminated at the quarterfinal stage. He won his first round race, third in the eighth final and then had a shocking start in the quarterfinal, only to charge back to fourth. But in a photo finish he was placed fifth.
Australian Saya Sakakibara had a perfect weekend in the elite women, going undefeated over both days, although British World Champion Bethany Shriever pushed her all the way in the final, with Rotorua’s Megan Williams making it to the quarterfinals.
Evergreen Frenchman Joris Dordet, who is 33 on Monday won the elite men’s competition, something he is used to, having first tasted success in the World Cup in 2011. Saturday’s victor Romain Mathieu, the current World Champion, was eliminated at the semifinal stage today.
Behind Dordet Cedric Butti from Switzerland was second and Olympic champion Niek Kimmann completed the podium.
Ava Corley from the United States headed Australians Isabell May and Teya Rufus in the Under 23 Women’s final.
Riders now head to Brisbane for two weekends of racing – the Oceania Championships – and then the third and fourth rounds of the World Cup in a fortnight.