Lumberjack Nationals race report
For the first-timer arriving at Columbia Basin BMX in Richland, Washington, the first thing you might notice is the plush green grass surrounding the track, and in between straightaways. Next, you'll take note of all of the light poles - making this track one of the best lit BMX venues in the entire U.S.. For the safety-factor for those who might veer off course, each light-pole in the infield has been carefully padded-up, with a FLY Racing cushion (also known as a covered haybale).
The Columbia Basin track is easily the best track in the state of Washington; the best groomed, best-kept and in a perfect location of the Tri-Cities area (surrounded by Pasco, Kennewick and Richland, with are all lined alongside the Columbia River). So it's obvious why the Lumberjack Nationals have returned to this location for 2015. The fun, flowing track will no doubt make for some awesome action throughout this weekend.
KING OF FRIDAY NIGHT
The Pros were out in force on Friday night, with a truly "International" feel to it. Rift~Tangent twins Daiki Ikeda and Jacob Abbe would obviously be the ones to beat. From back home, the Tangent cartel's el presidente', Rich Pelton, hashtagged a photo of his two rippers with #FreshOffTheBoat. Classic! Ikeda fought elbow-to-elbow with Abbe, with the two switching spots in the 1 and 2 position, and Daiki came out with the better score in the end.
Speaking of "fresh off the boat" - the Pro field this weekend is being joined by two friendly Aussies who are on a American BMX walk-about, having just landed in LAX a couple of days ago with enough money to possibly get them thru the next 3 monhts. Michael Young and Jake Stevens got a rental car and drove up to Washington, where they purchased a RV for $1,700, to be their home on the road. Cross your fingers that their house on wheels makes it all the way, and keep an eye out for these two blokes as they pass thru towns and stop off at any and every BMX track they come to along the way.
- 1 DAIKI IKEDA, RIFT/TANGENT, CA
- 2 JACOB ABBE, FACTORY RIFT/TANGENT, CA
- 3 MICHAEL YOUNG, BRISBANE, AUS.
- 4 KRISTIAN COOPER, BALLISTIC BMX, OR
- 5 ALAN HUDSON, STAR BMX PRODUCTS, AZ
- 6 ERIC MULLER, BALLISTIC BMX, OR
- 7 JUSTIN MOLEA, GRANTS PASS, OR
- 8 JAKE SVERNS, HARO BIKES, LUSTY INDUSTRIES, MELBOURNE, AUS.
SATURDAY IN THE TRI-CITIES
While there were plenty of exciting finale's, if you were forced at gunpoint to name just one as the best, chances are you'd say 19-27x. Oregon's Taylor Stephens surprised a few and shocked some others with a killer snap and first straight. Leading in to turn 1, the quick Orgonian was looking strong, but has seven other hungry X's breathin' hard down his neck. One of those was Extreme's Robby Patterson, who went for his patented Patterson swoop in turn two, when he saw the slightest sign of Taylor leaving the door open. Robby made a clean move and Taylor was determined to grab it back - blasting down the rhythm like a man poccessed. As he went hot in to the last turn, his front wheel caught on the ashpalt and sent him to the immediate right (which would but fine if this were a right hand turn - but it wasn't). Taylor flew off the backside exit of the last turn, as Patterson and Steinberg powered on in for the 1 and 2 spots.
Making this story even better is the revealing story afterwards, from Robby Patterson - and what happened to him just 30 minutes before the main. Like most experts, Robby went to go get warmed up in the parking lot before he headed off to staging. After doing a few warm-ups, he thought to himself "Just one more." And for those superstitious types, you know that "one more" is never a good thing to say or think. Robby got three powerful pedals in and suddenly - WHAMO! He slipped a pedal and head-gongo'ed to the ground in a milla-second, slamming his head to the pavement. Bewildered, Robby looked around and nobody was anywhere. He gathered his senses and went to sit in his car to make sure all was good.Luckily, he was alright and not concussed. By the time he got to staging, it was 9x, and with a throbbing head - he made his way in to the chutes.
The morale of the story, he says? "Always wear your helmet - EVEN when doing sprints and warming up." Definitely some words of wisdom from Extreme's ol' Egghead.
19-27x main: Patterson swoops.
- 1 ROBERT PATTERSON, EXTREME TEAM, UT
- 2 EVAN STEINBERG, MOTIVE POWER RACING, CA
- 3 BRYCE BETTS, CHASE / DHR, CA
- 4 HUNTER MCGILL, PURE FACTORY/ONYX, NANAIMO
- 5 MARK JENKINS, NORTHWEST BMX, OR
- 6 JESSE RICHARDSON, UPRIGHT BMX, OR
- 7 CEVIN DIETZ, BAY AREA BMXERS, CA
- 8 TAYLOR STEPHENS, FACTORY KUWAHARA, OR
While he's always been fast, previously scoring some "W" rankings to go in front of his number, Utah's Hunter Brown is known for being a contender. But this year, he's become the DOMINATOR. This was apparent on Friday when Hunter came to the USA BMX truck window with a handful of main event slips that he's been saving up for the year. Once all of the win-slips and various finishes were tallied up, Hunter walked away with over $1,000 in SaverStamps.
In Washington, he once again proved that he is The Man to beat in 14x, and that he's realy taking his racing seriously this year. With a Nag #3 on his plate right now, we have no doubt that he'll subtract 2 from it this November.
- 1 HUNTER BROWN, EXTREME TEAM, UT
- 2 NOAH RAMOS, CCH FACTORY, NV
- 3 AIDAN WEBBER, SEI ~ YESS BMX, NANAIMO
- 4 CHRISTIAN HOSLEY, SOLID FOUNDATION,, CA
- 5 GAVIN BOWERS, SUPERCROSS BMX, OR
- 6 DEREK PHIPPS, ANSWER/RENNEN, CA
- 7 ZACHARY FRIER, STAATS/CIARI, ABBOTSFORD
- 8 RIZDIN MILLER, RIDGE BROS RACING, OR
The girls classes this weekend also seemed more exciting than normal, as some of the fastest femme fatale's hail from the northwest and west coast. From reigning No.1 Girl Cruiser Olivia Armstrong to Seattle's unstoppable Kailani Hines, the girls were putting on a show.
In her constant quest to triple-triple at every USA BMX national she attends, Answer~Rennen's Leyna Jones was on fire as usual. But with a short time frame between her Open and Cruiser mains, Jones was a bit worn out and did the unthinkable; took a 2nd place on her 24"er. Unusual, to say the least - and that loss kept her from winning yet another Top Gun jacket. The pressure is now on for Sunday!
- 1 LEYNA JONES, ANSWER/RENNEN, CA
- 2 VIOLET CEJALVO,STAATS/CIARI, BC
- 3 ALEXIS LEIJA, J.E.T. RACING, NV
- 4 TEIGEN PASCUAL, SUPERCROSS, BC
- 5 ALLY CHURKO, DIABLOS RACING YESS NEMA, BC
- 6 JASMINE TOPPER, NO EXCUSES/SQUARED/NEMA, CA
- 7 TASHI GENSHOCK, JONES BIKES, LONG BEACH, CA
- 8 SIERRA ALTENDORF, ALCHEMY KUWAHARA, WA
Another fun girls race to watch was the elbow-to-elbow battles between Dan's Comp racer Sumi Yuki and Blackbox blaster Ashlyn Morrow. Down the first straight, they were neck to neck, but with the inside line (and we mean, EXTREME inside), Morrow got in a extra crank, got some chalk on her tires and dove to the inside of the first turn. She took over the lead, but Yuki was puttin' on the pressure like a chiropracter all around the track. Thru the rythm, they were again grip-to-grip and Yuki finally made her move to take things over. Whenever these two are on the track, you don't want to blink - it's always going to be a good one to the stripe.
13-14 GIRLS CRUISER
- 1 SUMIKO YUKI, DANS COMP, CA
- 2 ASHLYN MORROW, BLACK BOX/BASIC/FLY, ID
- 3 BRENNA BRADY, FACTORY KUWAHARA, CA
- 4 MADISUN BICHLER, GHY BIKES, ID
From the first main to the last, Columbia Basin BMX's smooth and technical track made for some tight racing. Moves were plenty - especially in turn-2, which was banked just right for inside swoopage. The old dudes in 36-40, attempting to ride like they did in the 90's wen they were teenages, really put on a show. SE Racing's TM Chris Schoonover (on platform pedlas, don't forget) had the lead but Arizona's Chris Knapp was on the move and had a laser-beam eye on the inside line. While SChoony took things wide, Knapp came in hot and heavy and two unmovable objects impacted like an astroid. BOOM! The two exploded, with bikes and bodies flying everywhere. Lawman's Jake Russell did a Cole Trickle, taking a deep breath and gassed-it high thru the smoke and debris. He came out unskathed and in the lead, followed by Sonic's Sheldon and former Team Burien rider Jason Ondell.
Even cooler is the fact that Schoony and Knapp got back up and high-5'ed eachother, knowing it was a move than either of them would've tried. Once they got back on their bikes, they lined up next to eachother at the top of the jump and dead-started to race for 7th and 8th place. Now THAT is good sportsmanship, by two cool BMX role models.
- 1 JAKE RUSSELL, LAWMAN BIKES, WA
- 2 SHELDON BOYAJEAN, SONIC BMX, WA
- 3 JASON ONDELL, TACOMA, WA
- 4 JAY DURAN, BALLISTIC BMX, WA
- 5 JASON BERGER, MISFITS RACING, WA
- 6 ALAN HARLAND, MILWAUKIE, OR
- 7 CHRIS SCHOONOVER, SE RACING, CA
- 8 CHRIS KNAPP, GORDY'S BICYCLES, AZ
WHEW! If Saturday's mains were hot enough, Sunday's mains ended with an all-time high. More to this story to come.