The finals of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Abbotsford were nothing short of dramatic, with super speeds, high-flying jumps and spectacular crashes.
Canada's hope to take the Cup, Olympian Tory Nyhaug of Coquitlam, was a crowd favourite after posting his best time trial of the season, but went down in a huge pileup before the first turn in the men's elite final that took out five of the eight riders on Saturday.
"I had a really good start but things got tight and we went down before the first turn," said Nyhaug, still good-natured after the race. "I looked up and only three guys were up."
Unhurt with his bike still intact, he jumped up and motored through the rest of the course, taking fourth place in the final metres to the roar of the hometown crowd.
"Hey, that's supercross," he said smiling.
The elite men's final was won by Twan van Gendt of the Netherlands who was ahead of the pack in the early going and unaffected by the crash. This was the first win in a World Cup event for the Dutchman, who placed fifth in the 2012 Olympics in London.
"I knew I had it in me," said Van Gendt, who earlier had recorded the fastest lap time in the series and gained the coveted No. 1 pole (holeshot) which gave him a great start and kept him out of trouble.
The crash also took out Connor Fields (seventh in the Olympics) and Barry Nobles, both of the U.S. Reigning world champ Sam Willoughby of Australia survived the pileup but could not catch van Gendt and had to settle for second.
Nyhaug picked up a silver medal for his second place finish in time trials on Friday, finishing just 0.023 seconds behind Willoughby, and ahead of van Gendt.
In the women's elite final Dutch rider Laura Smulders, bronze medalist at the Olympics, gave her country a sweep after she too avoided trouble on the final turn to win the race.
"I knew I could win. I had the fastest time in the semifinal," she said. "When two girls crashed on the final turn, I navigated around on the left."
This is the first time Canada hosted the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup, which attracted 45 men and 17 women, the best in the world, along with hundreds of their fans. It also propelled the Abbotsford BMX Club track at Exhibition Park onto the world stage.