Helensburgh rookie pro Kai Sakakibara is preparing to take on the world’s best BMX racers at the Supercross World Cup event in the Netherlands this weekend.
The 19-year-old Southlake BMX star flew directly to Europe from the BMX Australia National Championships in Brisbane after finishing fifth in Elite Men, but his push for the podium was cruelled by a freakish mishap at a critical stage.
Sakakibara was among a tight pack of riders but struck the prone figure of Adelaide-based world champion Sam Willoughby, who had crashed after leading the race.
Sakakibara had nowhere to go but straight into the hapless Willoughby.
‘‘It all happened so fast, “ said Sakakibara, with footage of an incredible race on his web-page, kaisakaibara.com>.
“When Sam and the other guys went down, I was in fourth spot, and I could see an empty track ahead of me. Unfortunately, the track was blocked and I came down as well.”
The pro rookie who is a 4-time BMX world plate holder, heads to the Papendal track in the Netherlands for UCI Supercross World Cup round with confidence, after racing there last year.
“I came away from the event with an overall 21st last year, which was a huge achievement for me,” Sakakibara said.
“I am looking forward to going back to see if I can improve on last year's results.
‘‘It will be some tough racing as riders from all over the world are competing at these events for Olympic Qualification points. I am looking forward to the racing.”
Sakakibara who is a BMX Australia Development Academy Member, is currently ranked 14th on the UCI Junior World Rankings and among his career highlights is a former Australian national champion and three time Japanese national champion.