David Graf | 2023 UCI Glasgow BMX World Championships Track Preview


Photos by Fifteen BMX

Follow David Graf on Instagram

David Graf | 2023 UCI Glasgow BMX World Championships Track Preview


Photos by Fifteen BMX

Follow David Graf on Instagram

Back at the end of April we bumped into Swiss coach, and all-round BMX legend, David Graf, at the recently tweaked Glasgow Worlds track. He was there for a pre-worlds Swiss training camp, and standing on the last jump of the second straight we had an interesting conversation about all things BMX, particularly the track and how it rode after Clark and Kent had made the subtle changes. Now with the 2023 UCI World Championships about to open its doors we got back in touch with David to get his track thoughts down on paper …

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‘The changes that have been made from last year’s World Cup to this year, are very small. But with a great effect.’ He told us, ‘The riders enjoyed the smoother track a lot. The only big change is at the end of the second straight on the women’s side, and I am not a big fan of that weird obstacle. I think it [the changes] will benefit the challenge riders more, especially the cruiser category would have struggled with the previous version. As it comes to the Championship categories, like I said, they enjoy it more to ride the track now. For the Championship categories alone, I would have preferred to keep the more challenging version where mistakes were resulting in a much greater speed loss.’

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Prior to the changes, the Glasgow track would have been considered very technical. During the 2022 UCI World Cup at the venue, it became obvious, very quickly, that if you lost concentration, even for a split second you would get spit out, without hesitation, no matter who you were. So, would the changes suit any skill set better than another? Would the technical riders still have an advantage, albeit slight, over the power riders? Graf’s opinion on advantage was still leaning to the technical side of the chart, ‘It is still a technical track but not quite as much as last year. A good mix will help, the first straight is long and the sprints out of the turns are crucial. The first half is more power and the second half for the skilled riders and I would guess the second half will be the deciding factor at the end,’ … ‘the second half of the track will be where the race can be lost if you are in the lead. I can see a lot of passes coming down the last stretch, you guys are in for some great BMX racing to the line.’

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The 2022 Worlds produced some surprises in the Elite ranks, deserving winners obviously, but not the names rolling off everyone’s tongue prior to the gate drop in Nantes … and that’s what made it nail bitingly exciting, and ultimately memorable! We asked David if we should expect some surprises come podium time in Glasgow, … ‘I think the big names are always there when it counts. But we have seen “surprise” winners last year and at the World Championships, everything can happen. It won’t be a name that no one had on the list but maybe not the biggest favourites either.’

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And with the 5m gate dropping in just under two weeks in Glasgow, what should your last-minute preparation look like? ‘Track time and sprints as always.’ Graff said, ‘Don’t change what has worked in the past, do the same thing with maybe a little bit more intent, intensity and focus. I think one crucial thing will be to get the track dialled in only a couple of laps. Train this, go to a track that you don’t ride very often and set a goal to do everything that you would need for a race, jumping all the jumps, know the lines in the turns, and get your rhythm straight sorted, … and do this in maximum 5 laps from start to finish. Like you will have to do it in your country practice. It will be important that you know exactly what you want to try before your first training at worlds, watch others train and try to find videos that could help you.’

And when the nerves are tingling, and you’re about the climb the stairs at the back of the hill in Glasgow, remember the final bit of advice from the Swiss National Coach … ‘Go fast, protect the insides into the turns, and have fun.’

Good luck in Scotland …

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