Canberra's Caroline Buchanan has continued her domination of the clock with a stunning victory in the Superfinal time trial at the 2012 UCI BMX World Championships in England.
Racing on the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, the 21-year-old recorded a time of 28.942 seconds to finish close to half a second quicker than Britain's Shanaze Reade (29.401) with Eva Aillourd of France claiming the bronze medal in 29.699.
Consistency has seen Buchanan win the time trial finals at all three 2012 Supercross World Cup rounds and last month in Norway she also claimed victory in the main event final.
Today's result is a reversal of last year when Buchanan was second behind Reade at the world titles in Denmark. In Birmingham Buchanan was the fastest qualifier in 29.168 and Reade was ninth best however the British champion was the big improver in the final.
"It definitely wasn't easy," said Buchanan who as top seed was the last rider to race the timed lap. "When I saw Shanaze in the hot seat (leader) with a really good time that I knew was so similar to my first time I knew it was going to be hard and I had to have a really solid lap.
"I managed to shave some time off which I didn't think I could even do," said a beaming Buchanan after being presented with her first BMX rainbow jersey.
"Last year I just learnt so much and this year I'm putting it into practice and my head's in a better spot," she explained. "I feel a lot more confident and I'm really going for it, giving it my 100 percent all."
The world ranked number one went into the time trial competition with high expectations.
"After winning the past three World Cups (Superfinal time trials) I would have been really disappointed if I didn't win, so I'm stoked," she said. "I'm so happy I can't believe it."
Only 16 riders from each of the time trial qualifying rounds went through to the Superfinal medal races but the top 48 women and 64 men will contest Saturday's moto rounds.
West Australian Lauren Reynolds was the only other High Performance (HP) team rider in the women's Superfinal and placed 14th (30.457). However Queensland's Melinda McLeod (18th) and independent entrant Kirsten Dellar (41st) are also through to the moto rounds.
In the men's competition world number two, Sam Willoughby and HP team mate Brian Kirkham were the only two Australians to make it into the medal round where they placed sixth (26.439) and eighth (26.513) respectively. American Connor Fields was best on the day winning in a time of 25.806 ahead of Britain's Liam Phillips in 26.178 and Frenchman Sylvain Andrew (26.261).
The remaining two HP team members Khalen Young (26th) and Anthony Dean (28th) are also through to the moto rounds along with independent entrants Darryn Goodwin (29th), Josh Callan (44th) and Luke Madill (54th).
In the elite junior men's Superfinal time trial Bodi Turner was sixth and Corey Frieswyk placed eighth while in the women's junior elite final Rachel Jones posted the fifth fastest time.
Focus now turns to head to head racing out of the gate. The men will line up in eight groups of eight who will race three runs to determine the top four riders from each group to progress to the quarter finals. The women will race in eight groups of six riders with the top four from each group qualifying for finals racing. Points are awarded based on placing (1st place equals 1 point) and riders aim for the lowest points total after three qualifying races.
Australia is currently the number one nation in the UCI world rankings (as at 17 April) in both men's and women's elite competition which means Australia has qualified the maximum of five starting positions (three men and two women) for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
While rider ranking is an important part of the nomination criteria a rider who wins a medal* in the elite class race at the World Championships will secure automatic nomination for selection by the Australian Olympic Committee in the team for London. That presents an opportunity for any riders who might not be on the radar of the selectors and for those already in the shadow team.
(* Time trial medals not included and if more than one rider wins a medal the top placed rider will gain the automatic nomination.)
High Performance Team (ranking as at 15 May)
BMX 20" - Elite Men
- Anthony DEAN (Wynn Vale, SA, 22.04.1991) (Ranked 32 in the world)
- Brian KIRKHAM (Clapham SA, 01.01.1986) (Ranked 5 in the world)
- Sam WILLOUGHBY (Trott Park SA, 15.08.1991) (Ranked 2 in the world)
- Khalen YOUNG (Kelmscott WA, 20.11.1984) (Ranked 16 in the world)
- Caroline BUCHANAN (Kambah ACT, 24.10.1990) (Ranked 1 in the world)
- Melinda McLEOD (Mackay, QLD, 12.02.1993) (Ranked 4 in the world)
- Lauren REYNOLDS (Bunbury, WA, 25.06.1991) (Ranked 6 in the world)
- Bodi TURNER (Bayswater North, VIC, 18.09.1994) (Ranked 10 in the world)
- Corey FRIESWYK (Glenella, QLD, 26.01.1994) (Ranked 12 in the world)
- Rachel JONES (Cameron Park, NSW, 18.10.1995) (Ranked 8 in the world)