Updated: Oct 4, 2022
I think we have seen a big shift in the pro scene here in The U.S. with Connor being hurt and Joris moving overseas. Obviously, those 2 have been the top guys in the class for nearly the last decade, which hasn’t given many opportunities for other guys to win let alone win the USABMX Title. That makes this year even more exciting, we will see “who’s next” and who wants to step up and be that top dog.
For me, I think Josh Mclean is the favorite. Being up for the title last year and experiencing what it felt like going to The Grands with a shot at the title is something that will serve him well this year. It’s not easy being in contention for a big title and it’s difficult to know how to handle that situation when you haven’t been in that position before. It’s much easier going to a big race with little expectations. Even though he didn’t have his best Grands last year, I look for him to be more comfortable this year and go there determined and with a lot of confidence having already gone through it once before now. I think he’ll relish the spotlight this year, and know exactly what to expect and how to ride his best with all eyes on him.
Another guy I look to make a late charge this year is Izaac Kennedy. He’s been steadily improving this year, and had his first USABMX breakthrough win this past spring in Tulsa. We often see guys win their first Pro race, and then start winning more consistently. Once Pros truly prove to themselves they can win, they go to races expecting to win and do it more often. Izaac is really good on SX, he’s one of the best overall racers on the circuit right now and what makes him dangerous is his race craft. He can get cut-off, shuffled around, but always seems to position himself well and then he can rely on his track speed to win a race if needed. I look to the 2 SX races (Louisville and Oldsmar) to be good opportunities for him to put some wins on the board and build his points total. There is more room on those 2 tracks to move around, and I think that fits Izaac’s style best compared to the tighter tracks in Salt Lake and Bakersfield. Izaac has also proven that he isn’t intimidated by other guys or by big moments. He’s podiumed at World Cups at a young age and excelled on some big stages, which makes me believe that if he goes to the Grands with a shot at the title he’ll be able to ride loose and with a “nothing to lose” attitude.
Cam Wood: I think Cam can holeshot and win on any SX or regular track. He’s an excellent starter, and has an efficient style. He stays really central on his bike and can control it however he needs to. I think his track speed/consistency has improved immensely and it showed with his win in Tulsa this year. There is nowhere to hide on that track if you’re lacking track speed, and he handled the moment exceptionally. Similar to Izaac, with his recent finishes I look for Cam to go into races with a renewed confidence knowing he can win anywhere. I don’t believe he’s limited to the tracks he can win at, he’s equally as good on SX and regular tracks which makes all the races left on the calendar potential wins for him. An advantage that Cam also has is his history of working with Sam Willoughby. Having been a sponge and taking in as much knowledge as he could from Sam, I believe he’ll confidently know he can handle the pressure the Grands offers. Additionally, I think the 3 main format at The Grands will be an advantage for him as well.
Read the other Pro Breakdowns in the August edition of PULL Magazine