South African BMX racers travelled as one of the biggest teams to the recent UCI BMX World Championships in Belgium in July, with three racers returning home with World numbers.
William Jackson (53) did it again and earned his fourth career World number in the 50+ Cruiser class, returning with the number 5 plate… again! The South African legend feels like he is “stuck on the number five”!
“Three of my four World numbers have been fifth places,” says William. “And one number six. I’ll be back next year to hopefully get one better.”
William scooped the World number plate in 2012 (5th), 2014 (6th), 2018 (5th) and 2019 (5th). Although he works full time, his commitment and dedication to his training has seen great results, but has been a great sacrifice.
“I train every night – Monday to Wednesday is gym work, Thursday and Saturday I’m on the track, and Sundays are race days,” he says.
William was a big racer in the 80s and left it for many years before returning to the race track once again. The highly competitive 50+ Cruiser class saw 75 athletes start at the UCI World Championships this year.
In the younger categories, Riley van Heerden returned with a World number 8 in the Girls 12 and under Crusier class, while Matthew Fulton also 8 years of age, also earned a number 8 plate. Last year, Matthew was a World number 5, but he fell in the final and finished 8th.
With 2020 being an Olympic year, there is much competition left for our national Elite riders who are working hard to qualify the nation for a spot in the Olympic Games. The last opportunity to do so will be at the UCI BMX World Championships in Houston, Texas in 2020.
Sooner on the calendar however is the African Continental Championships in Zimbabwe in November. This event includes extra UCI points being a Continental Championships.
Prior to that, the National Championships take place in Gauteng in September, also carrying UCI points for our racers.
Spending more racing time abroad is a big boost to gain racing experience for our riders, and Dylan Eggar and Manqoba Madida will be competing in the European Championships rounds 9 and 10 in Peer, Belgium – a UCI C1 race. Dylan will be basing himself in Europe in order to pursue his racing career and position himself to attend more of these races to stay up to speed with the international class of riders.