By Paul Verkuylen in Mount Stromlo, Canberra, Australia
Local wonder-child Caroline Buchanan stormed to her first World Cup victory in the women's four cross. The 17 year-old Australian, who hails from Canberra, took advantage of her intimate knowledge of the circuit to dominate first her semi-final and then the final.
"It feels like so much more than just another race on my home track. It feels amazing," an emotional Buchanan said. "The best riders in the world are here and this is only the second time that I have made a World Cup final and to be on top of the podium at only 17 – I am stoked, it hasn't set in yet."
Buchanan used her explosive power to take the hole-shot and build up an early lead ahead of the Anneke Beerten, who would finish second and take over the World Cup lead going into the next round in Schladming, Austria..
The huge Canberra crowd went nuts upon Buchanan's win. Receiving the congratulations of her competitors on the podium, it slowly sunk in just what she had achieved. As the huge Australian crowed sang along with the national anthem Buchanan, draped in the Australian flag, bust into tears.
An Australian also won the men's 4X, but few would have guessed that the final would be an all Australian affair. .
"It's the best to come to races like this and get the home crowd support," winner Jared Graves said. It was Graves' last race for the season after a hectic build up to the Olympics, to come away with a win was bonus.
"It's good for the head to go home and know that I finished the season strong," he said after even a mechanical could not derail his winning ride.
"I lost my rear brake at the top. It is pulling right to the bar. Trying to slow down for the corners with just the front brake was a bit sketchy."
With four Australians in the final, the crowd was pumped as they lined up for the final run down the course. Interestingly, Graves was the only rider in the final who had actually experienced a World Cup before. The others, regulars at Australian events, had never raced an international four cross before.
"But they are all top level BMXers and have raced internationally before," Graves said. "If we get more of these guys racing four cross we [Australia] would be the dominant country in the world.
Sam Willoughby, Luke Madill, Thomas Hubert and Leigh Darrell, all Australians made up the top five.