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Australian riders Caroline Buchanan and Sam Willoughby have both raced home in second place in the main event finals of the third round of the UCI BMX Supercross in the Netherlands.
Canberra's Buchanan, 21, went into Sunday's race in Papendal as one of the favourites after her win in the Superfinal time trial on Saturday but was outridden by American Alise Post who was the only woman to conquer the triple jump at the end of the first straight.
"I'm definitely happy with second place and I'm happy for Alise (who has) come back from a big, major injury (July 2011 crash). She was the one who had the guts to jump that triple in the final and put it to her, she got it out, got it done and got in front," said Buchanan who remains on top of both the Supercross series and world rankings. "I'm happy with my results this year and being a lot more consistent."
Consistency has seen Buchanan win the time trial finals at all three Supercross rounds and last month in Norway she also claimed victory in the main event final. She now hopes to cement a place in the Olympic team by claiming a medal at the World Championships* later this month in Birmingham, England.
" I am really looking forward to it, (but) not getting too far ahead of myself," said Buchanan. "Once I go to worlds I'll be going all out again and I want to get on the podium."
Conditions in Papendal were far from ideal especially in Saturday's time trial racing which was hard hit by blustery winds. In the men's competition South Australian Willoughby crashed hard during the time trials and there was doubt he would recover for Sunday's race which proved to be one of the toughest contested on what is the longest track on the Supercross circuit.
But the two-time junior elite world champion was back at the starting gate for the moto qualifying rounds on Sunday earning a start in the final. Willoughby was fastest out of the gate but Olympic Champion Maris Strombergs from Latvia took the lead at the end of the straight and held on to win the gold in a photo finish pipping Willoughby on the line by 16 thousandths of a second.
The results was bitter sweet for Willoughby who has now finished second in the race finals of all three Supecross rounds and is ranked second in both the series and world rankings.
"Maris is riding great he had a helluva first straight in the final. Still (I'm) very happy with second, it's very consistent and everything is coming along well. The next step will just come," explained Willoughby. "It's so cut-throat out there and you have to be perfect every time. I've been 98 percent every time so I just need to get that extra two percent.
"I was pretty happy with that today and I don't think I'll be able to walk tomorrow after that crash in the time trial," said Willoughby. "I woke up feeling like I got hit by a bus. Shoulder, knee, hip, I'm pretty bruised so hopefully feeling fresh again by the worlds."