South Park Event Report
Friday night kicked off with a bang here at the Stars N' Stripes Nationals in South Park, PA. With 64 action packed motos for tonight's pre-race, everyone in attendance was pumped up! The Pro class consisted of Mike Caldwell, Will "The Thrill" Grant, Olijuwan "Prince" Davis, Elliot McGrath and Nick Wright. The first round was used as a warm up and helped decide the rider's gates for the main. When the main event finally roled in and the gate slammed down, it was the big guy, Elliot McGrath taking the holeshot and not looking back. McGrath would go on for the win followed by Olijuwan Davis and Mike Caldwell to round out the top three.
Heading into tomorrow and with the absence of Sam Willoughby, the question remains, who will be the next winner of the AA pro class? Dan's Comp's Justin Posey will make his Elite Men debut and with other heavy hitters such as Marc Willers, Nic Long and Donny Robinson also in attendence, it is anyones race to win. Check in tomorrow evening for the latest news and photos from Saturday racing action!
Saturday morning rolled in and luckily for everyone in South Park, mother nature was kind enough to keep the rain away for yet another day. Practice went down without a hitch and it was not long before we were well on our way through 215 action packed motos.
33 Elite Men were on the roll call sheet but only the top 8 would have the chance to compete for the cash. This being a UCi event, it was one lap no crap all the way to the line. In the qualifying rounds leading up to the main, there were some definite moves of desperation trying to find a way in. The 2-time Olympic Gold medalist Maris Strombergs was out front in his quarter but slid out in the last turn which would end his night early. In the semis, Nic Long would find himself on the receiving end of an elbow in turn one from T-Bone Tanner Sebesta and that would cause himself and Tangent's Riley Stair to slow it down to the back of the pack with Skizo. However, that would not be the end, Tommy Zula fresh off of a hand injury was in a battle for the last transfer position that would send them both down in turn two. This left the door open for the other three and it would be a photo finish at the line to give the last transfer spot to Riley Stair. The main event rolled in and when the gate went down, it would be Kurt Pickard that checked out. Pickard went on for the win, Corben Sharrah took home 2nd and The Herminator David Herman took the final step.
The Elite Women were taking advantage of another surpassed race by Redline's Alise Post. Most likely her and Haro's Brooke Crain are in preperation for the World Championships later this month. Dominique Daniels put her famous pumping into action on South Parks downhill monster of a track and that would prove to be plenty so she could ride away with the win. Amanda Carr and Dani George would also join Daniels on the podium.
Another dominating performance from the females came from Dan's Comp's Samantha Brown. She did not drop a single lap to her competition and would take home both the Answer holeshot award and the cah for the Jr. Women.
Leading into Jr. Men there was a lot of rumbling on the battle between Maliek Byndloss and Tyler Whitfield. After the back and forths all day long, it finally came down to the main event. Out of the gate it would be Byndloss but Whitfield had the inside line and was on the hunt. Whitfield dove to the inside and rode side by side with Byndloss all the way out. Thats all he would need to hammer down for the win which left Maliek with 2nd and Alden Volle for 3rd.
The amateur action also left spectators for plenty to talk about heading towards Grands later in the year. Some key stand out battles were in the older expert groups. It was the 13X class that had one of the greatest races of the evening. With a gnarly pro set out of turn 2, SE's Jason Rotger would take the high road while hunting down Answer~Ssquared's Tyshawn Carr who opted the outside amateur line. Rotger had just enough to pass Carr going into the last 90 degree corner and would hold on for the overall win.
In 17-18X Maliek Byndloss would make his redemption from Jr. Men and overcome Whitfield and Jeremy Smith to take the win and showing exactly why he won the USAC National Championship earlier this year.
19-27X is going to be one of those most stacked groups at the Grands and most likely, the National No. 1 Amateur title will be decided in that main event gate. Jordan "The Missle" Miranda made his case for the title a little stronger as he would take the win followed by Niles Austin and Doug Widdows.
Day 1 is in the books here at the Stars N' Stripes Nationals in South Park, PA and there should only be more great action tomorrow. Stay tuned for a weekend wrap up with photos to join.
With the threat of eminent rain resident meteorologist and National Director Bill Morris kept a close eye to the radar all morning long. The gates were dropping at quicker pace than the previous 2 days. Despite our best efforts, Mother Nature finally caught up with us during the semi finals and a steady drizzle began to fall.
Kuwuhara's Jeffrey Upshaw wowed the crowd by jumping the pro section despite the muddy conditions. In the end Phil Delizia would go on to win the main event.
The Elite and Jr classes did not run semis or mains due to the track conditions. The UCI official in attendance ruled that the times from the last round raced, in this case their quarterfinals, would be used to determine the winners. Haro's Corben Sharrah would take the Elite Mens' win, Amanda Carr would secure her first Elite Women's victory and Tyler Whitfield would take his second win in Jr Men on the weekend.
Danica Anderson made the long trip from SoCal a worthwhile one by grabbing the win in 6 girls. Local girl Samantha Miller used her home track advantage to win the ultra competitive 15-16 Girls class.
One of the most impressive runs in the mud goes to Canada's Alex Brancier who absolutely ruled 26-30 cruiser. Alex was racing a 26" mountain bike and was probably one of the only racers of the day that had knobbies on his tires.
By the time the expert mains rolled around the track surface was quite tacky. This led to some intense racing from the fastest amateurs in attendance.
12 expert saw Chase Robinson jump out to an early lead but he left the inside open down the second straight. Nate Caron was able to capitalize on the opportunity and take the win.
Bodie Fitzsimonds looked awesome in 13 expert until he got a little too far over the front end out of turn one. Jarret Biddle shot out front but Tyshawn Carr was reeling him in fast. It came down to a photo finish but Biddle held on by half a wheel.
The battle for the podium spot in 16 expert was a great one. Ryan Zinzow led for 3/4's of the race only to be passed by two riders as they entered the final turn. Hyper's Gavin Nelson would get the win, Answer Rennen's Just Knapper got the two and Zinzow held on for the third.
19-27 expert is usually one of the best races to watch at any race. Throw in some mud at it only gets better. Niles Austin looked to be running away with the win until Connecticut’s Colby Benoit made the brave move and took the pro section. Put him down for the move of the day.
Despite the adverse conditions on Sunday, a great time was had by most. South Park lived up to its legendary history and this was just another chapter in the book. We'll see everyone in Sin City!