Drew Polk Bronze Medal
Team USA

Drew Polk Wins Bronze at BMX World Championships

By: Angelina Palermo  August 22, 2021

Four riders made the finals at BMX Worlds in Papendal

The 2021 UCI BMX World Championships got underway today at the Team NL Olympic Training Center. The Papendal BMX Track brought some great racing on a cloudy morning in Holland.


The day started off with three rounds of motos for the Elite Men, Elite Women, Junior Men, and Junior Women. Team USA looked strong all morning with Kamren Larsen (Bakersfield, Calif.; Haro Bikes), Tanner Sebesta (Kyle, Tex.; SSquared/Answer), Corben Sharrah (Tucson, Ariz.; Daylight Cycle Co.), Jeremy Smith (Seminole, Fla.; DK Bicycles), and Cameron Wood (Phoenix Ariz.; Mongoose/USA BMX Foundation) all transferring to eighths. Cole Tesar (Huntersville, N.C.; Zeronine) and Anthony Bucardo (San Martin, Calif.; Haro Bikes) did not transfer out of motos with Bucardo sitting out for the day with an injury.

For the Elite Women, Felicia Stancil (Lake Villa, Ill.; Factory SSquared/Answer) and Alise Willoughby (Saint Cloud, Minn.; Team Toyota/ GW Bicycles) were on fire in their own heats winning a few laps on the day. Payton Ridenour (Pottstown; Penn.; Mongoose Bicycles) and Daleny Vaughn (Tucson, Ariz.; 316 Racing/DK Bikes) kept it consistent and made their way to the quarter-finals.

All the juniors made it to their next round including Charlie Biggs (Rock Hill, S.C.; Rockstar Rift/Tangent), Nolan Cardwell (Belmont, N.C.; Rival Racing), Brandon Crain (Riverside, Calif.; Factory Answer), Drew Polk (Avon, Ind.; Hyper Bicycles), and Caitlyn Farmer (Atlanta, Ga.; Black Widow/Insane Vein).

The Elite Men raced rounds of eight with all riders making it to the next round except for Smith who finished fifth in his heat.


It was on to the quarterfinals starting with the Junior Men. Polk finished second transferring him to the semifinals with Cardwell and Crain in sixth and seventh. In the next heat, Biggs finished eighth.

The Elite Women’s quarters were challenging but the young women on Team USA fought every step of the way. Vaughnand Ridenour both finished fifth in their respective heats just missing out on the last transfer spot. Stancil andWilloughby were in control of their heat going one and two in the first turn and making their way to the semifinals.

In the Elite Men’s race, Sharrah had a great lap finishing second and Larson held on to fourth. Wood was in a battle for fourth with the Dutch rider Dave van der Burg and would take him high in the last turn transferring to the semis.


The first semi was the Junior Women with Farmer finishing seventh on the day. The Junior Men laid down some fast laps with Polk taking the inside line on the first turn putting him in third. The last straight was a fight for fourth between three riders, but Polk was able to squeeze in making it to the main event! This was already quite a ride for the 18-year-old.

Willoughby and Stancil were in the gate together once again in the Elite Women’s race. Stancil grabbed the holeshot and held her lead to the line. Willoughby rode to fourth.

The Elite Men’s semifinals were stacked with Wood finishing third behind the Olympic Gold Medalist Niek Kimmann (NED) and Arthur Pilard (FRA). At 19-years-old, Wood was riding to his first Elite World Championships main event. Larsen and Sharrah finished sixth and eighth in their heat.


The main events were nothing short of exciting. The thunderstorms managed to hold off for the day, when the weather was predicted to be anything but.

The Junior Men were all gunning for the win. Polk came out of the first turn in fifth and managed to pick off riders down the second straight. Polk crossed the line winning the bronze medal in his first Junior World Championships.

Polk explained what this meant to him to not only make the main event, but to grab a medal in the process.

Polk said, “It’s absolutely incredible. It’s a dream come true. This was my only Worlds for Junior Men because last year’s worlds got canceled, so my goal was to make the Worlds Final. I definitely exceeded my expectations, but I just knew I had to get in the Final and go from there. I worked so hard for this race and it feels so good to see it pay off. I couldn’t have done this without my coach, Donavon Long, my parents, USA Cycling, Joey Bradford, and all my sponsors: Hyper, Atlas, 6D, Snafu, Faith, Promax, HT, and G-Form for allowing me to represent their company and for keeping me protected and going fast. This is a great stepping stone for my future in BMX Racing, but there’s more to come and bigger goals to accomplish.”

Team USA was looking for a podium in the Elite Women’s race. Stancil and Willoughby were three-wide with Swiss rider Zoe Claessens coming out of the first turn with Claessens getting loose and taking out both Stancil and Willoughby. Unfortunately, that’s the way BMX works sometimes. Bethany Shriever (GBR) doubled down winning the World Championships after winning a gold medal at the Olympics only a few weeks ago.

In the Elite Men’s race, Wood was in a battle for fifth but was unable to hold it coming out of the second turn. Kimmann came from gate eight and also doubled up on his wins after claiming gold in Tokyo. Wood finished eighth in the world on the day.

It’s time for the BMX team to get a well-deserved break after the Olympic and World Championships. Now we’re looking ahead to a quick turnaround with the 2021 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships starting Tuesday.


Junior Men's Final:

  1. Marco Radaelli (ITA)
  2. Louison Rousseau (FRA)
  3. Drew Polk (USA)
  4. Matteo Tugnolo (ITA)
  5. Mathias Carlier (FRA)
  6. Rico Bearman (NZ)
  7. Pierre Geisse (FRA)
  8. Einar Lindberg (SWE)

Junior Women’s Final:

  1. Mariane Beltrando (FRA)
  2. Teigen Pascual (CAN)
  3. Michelle Wissing (NED)
  4. Robyn Gommers (GER)
  5. Lea Brindjonc (FRA)
  6. Francesca Cingolani (ARG)
  7. Thalya Burford (SUI)
  8. Aiko Gommera (GER)

Elite Women's Final:

  1. Bethany Shriever (GBR)
  2. Judy Baauw (NED)
  3. Laura Smulders (NED)
  4. Marian Pajon (COL)
  5. Lauren Reynolds (AUS)
  6. Alise Willoughby (USA)
  7. Felicia Stancil (USA)
  8. Zoe Claessens (SUI)

Elite Men's Final:

  1. Niek Kimmann (NED)
  2. Sylvain Andre (FRA)
  3. David Graf (SUI)
  4. Simon Marquart (SUI)
  5. Arthur Pilard (FRA)
  6. Mitchel Schotman (NED)
  7. Izaac Kennedy (AUS)
  8. Cameron Wood (USA)

Full Results