Sydney’s Brandon Loupos capped a superb 2018 season by winning bronze in the BMX Freestyle Park final at the 2018 UCI Urban World Championships in Chengdu, China, on Sunday.
Loupos, who qualified second in Saturday’s semi-finals, scored 88.72 points in his first run in Sunday’s final. In his second run, Loupos' attempt at bettering his score ended when he put both feet on the ground.
18-year-old Justin Dowell (USA) took the gold after a producing a superb 92.20 point ride in his first run, which proved too strong for all other competitors. Kenneth Tencio Esquivel (Costa Rica) took the silver medal with his first run of 88.9 points.
“It feels great, I worked hard to get on the podium and after having a disappointing worlds in 2017 when I got tenth with a bad mistake, to come back this year with third, it feels really good,” said Loupos, who celebrated victory in the opening round of the UCI BMX Freestyle World Cup in April and second in round two in May.
“I was aiming for the top spot and I thought I could have done it. But to have that little slip up in my first run, but to still get on the podium, it’s pretty awesome.”
Loupos narrowly edged countryman Jake Wallwork (88.6points) into fourth overall.
“I’m stoked! It feels amazing to make the top four at world champs, especially coming off a win last week,” said Wallwork, who won gold at the final round of the World Cup Series held one week before the World Championships. “Last year it was all a bit new, it was different, but this year I knew what to expect, I trained my backside off and I came into this event strong.”
BMX Freestyle Park debutant Caroline Buchanan finished twelfth overall after she was unable to start the finals due to a crash in practice in which she sustained a dislocated and broken finger.
“I was hoping to end the year on a bit more of a high, but hopefully I’ll back riding soon,” said Canberra’s dual BMX racing Olympian and eight-time world champion, who continues her recovery after an off-road vehicle accident outside of Canberra in December forced her off the bike for six months. “This year is all about resilience building.”
Gold Coast’s Kyle Baldock, who won silver at Sydney’s X-Games in October, crashed in his opening runs and missed out on a finals berth. Reigning world champion Logan Martin, who claimed the first-ever rainbow jersey on offer in the discipline in 2017, was forced to withdraw after injuring his ankle during training in October.
Australia’s best now turn their focus to the inaugural Freestyle BMX Nationals which is set to thrill fans at Melbourne’s Rampfest from 23-24 November 2018, which offers the first green and gold jersey on offer in the discipline.
Following his scorching end to the season, Melbourne’s Wallwork is keen for a strong showing on his home track.
“Ahead of nationals, I’m feeling great. It’s on my home ground, and I’m excited to try and get that green and gold jersey.”