2013 Pro Predictions
Words and photos James Wilson
The 2013 race season is lining up to be one of the most exciting years of BMX racing in recent history. It has been a while since there has been more than three people in the running for a title, in the past few years BMX has been dominated by a handful of men and women and though they are all still top contenders, there area a slew of young riders looking to earn their keep and make some moves. Rather than write a long winding theory on who we think is going to take all the money and some titles this year, we decided to just break it out into some of the top riders and take a look at how they might fair in 2013.
Coming off an awesome year containing a UCI World title, overall UCI Supercross title, USA BMX Title and an Olympic Silver medal, it is really hard to see Sam going any higher than he has already been. In 2013 it is very likely that Sam stays at the top, the dude has momentum at his back pushing him more and more. As long as Sam stays healthy, he will make a lot of money this year, win a lot of races and of course, be in the fight for all of the titles. He just has to make sure to watch his back because we can assume that every other rider is gunning for him.
With a second Olympic Gold medal hanging around his neck, Maris came in and conquered 2012. The only race that mattered in the eyes of Maris last year was the Olympics. He skipped much of the domestic circuit and most of the Supercross races while preparing for the games, when he won, it was obvious that the plan had worked. This year we can expect to see Maris back racing a full Pro schedule and aiming to acquire the one title he has yet to hold, the USA/ABA BMX number one Pro. He has been in the running for it a few times now, but hasn't been able to pull it all together in the end. This year we can bet that his main goal will be to take home that title and sign as many Rockstar cans as necessary along the way.
Marc has been in contention for the USA/ABA BMX title for the past three years fighting his fellow Pacific Islander Sam Willoughby every season. In 2011 he took the title from Sam. In 2012, he gave it back after a season of disappointments not making the podium at both the UCI Worlds and Olympic Games. There is no doubt that Marc is coming into the season pissed about the way last year went and ready to take whatever action is necessary… Aside from Lance Armstonging it. With another month off until the race season begins, we know Marc is hitting the gym and track as hard as ever and is looking to dethrone Willoughby once again.
Even though this will be his third season as a Elite Pro, this will be the first year where Fields can move his focus to the USA BMX races. Since turning up in 2011 Conner has had his focus set on the Olympics as he was Team USA's biggest shot at a medal. After his Olympic dream crumbled in the final (blown gate and then a fall trying to pass for a non podium position) Fields came home empty handed and ready to go. Conner scored podium at a decent amount of USA BMX races and in 2013 we can expect to see him give the title a go.
Bubba and Mike Day
Bubba Harris and Mike Day are what is left of the old breed of BMX. Both have titles or medals under their belts and both are still mixing it up. Harris has kept a low profile for the last few years, I think we can expect to see him more often and hopefully riding like his old self. Day has done a good job of being in the mix. A broken hand towards the end of 2012 kept him from racing the Grands, but he has been in plenty of main events in recent times. Most of all I think we can expect to see these two dudes having a lot of fun.
Caroline Buchanan is pulling double duty this year racing both the BMX and mountain bike circuits, and has already claimed her first win of the year at a MTB race down in Australia. On her way out of the 2012 season Buchanan jumped sponsors moving over to DK Bicycles. Buchanan has plenty of MTB titles in her trophy case but the only thing she has on the BMX end is wins at individual races, never putting together a complete solid season. This year Buchanan will be living in SoCal and training with Barry Nobles, prepping for some wins on both bikes and chasing the elusive USA BMX title.
With a world title in 2011 and an Olympic title in 2012, the only thing left for Columbian rider Mariana Pajon to do is conquer the USA BMX series. If there were a time for it, that time would be this year. The good word out there is that Mariana will be based out of Florida this season and will be going after the USA BMX title. It would be no surprise to see her take it home. Along with a lot of winning, we can also expect to see Mariana packing on some more endorsements in Columbia.
Will 2013 be the year that Dominique Daniels loses the #1 that she's been running for the past handful of years? This season may be the toughest year in the Women's Elite class in a long, long time, making the title that DD holds that much harder to hold on to. For the past few seasons Dominique has taken home the title, but it has always come down tot he Grand Nationals. We expect DD to be in the running once again this time around, although the likelihood of her taking the title back again is getting less and less.
After a few years battling injuries and making comebacks, 2013 will be the year that Alise Post puts a whole season together. After a crash at the Olympics left Alise sidelined for much of the second half of the USA BMX series, she came back just in time for the grands. While at her first race back, Alise won both the Race Of Champions on Friday and then the Grand Championship race on Saturday. She wasn't in contention for a title, yet she still managed to show everyone that it is her turn to win a title. With the focus off of the Olympics and Supercross races for a little bit, you can bet on Post to do work in 2013.