Fall Nationals Race Report
Orlando, Florida is known for its expansive orange groves and for the most famous theme park on the planet. It is also known for some of the most exciting BMX racing anywhere. To everyone’s shock last night’s pre race had 91 electrifying motos and the Silver Spurs Arena was ROCKIN’!
The international contingent always loves to race in the Sunshine State and last night was no exception. We’re still debating on which country had the loudest cheering section but it was a toss up between the Dominican Republic and Colombia. They were loud even in practice. Now that’s some spirit.
Pro Open had 16 men that were looking to grab some quick cash. France’s Vincent Pelluard looked to take the win but fell victim to the slippery last turn during the main event. New Mexico transplant Fernie Jacquez was able to avoid the carnage and take the win. If last night was any indication of what’s to come for the remainder of the weekend, this could be one of the best races of the season.
This was the first time that we have hosted back-to-back nationals in Florida and we heard many a story about racer adventures during the week. Some folks were lying on white sand beaches with umbrella drinks and others hit up ever theme park imaginable. Regardless of where you went, a good time was had and the weather was beautiful.
Saturday brought out 198 motos worth of hot action and once again the arena was at volume 10 for most of the day. A Pro was 34 men strong and it was anyone's guess to who would claim their slot in the 3 main affair. Once the quarter and semi finals were completed and the dust cleared, 5 Americans a Frenchman and 2 Colombian riders took to the gate. The first main had some fireworks as Clayborn's Jordan Miranda fought for the lead down the first straight. On the exit of turn one he leaned a bit too far over the bars, spun out and went flipping through the air. Word on the street is that he may be done for the year with an ankle injury. Heal up soon Mr. Miranda! In the end the battle for the win was between SSquared's Tyler Whitfield and Extreme's Jeremy Smith, who was coming off a win in Oldsmar last Saturday. They were tied after the first two mains with 3 points but Whitfield had gate one in the final lap of the day and led it wire to wire for the victory. Despite finishing in the back of the pack, Smith ended up 2nd and Answer Rennen's Max Egdorf nabbed himself a 3rd.
Sunday saw a few less riders but the racing was just as fierce. Once again it was a battle between Whitfield, Smith and Florida’s Colombian transplant Santiago Marin. No one had an answer for Smith’s hot laps and he took his 2nd victory in two weeks. He should be firing on all cylinders come Grands time.
10 & Under Girl Cruiser featured a visitor from the quite a way from the sunny skies of Central Florida. Supercross Canada’s Peyton Yochim put herself in position to challenge for the NAG title in Tulsa.
Another great race was had between two Georgia girls, Emma “Clickie” Padovano and Caitlyn Farmer. Each young lady added a win to their already impressive resumes.
Skittles Gayheart (be sure to check out her helmet) and Bailey Brannen swapped wins in 13-14 Girl Cruiser. When these two are on the track, we’d advise you not to look away. They race hard and all the way to the line (sometimes even past it).
Triples are getting more rare these days but J&R's Noah Miguel delivered the trifecta on both days in 10 Expert, Cruiser and 9-10 Open. This little guy has been dominating the national circuit in 2015 and is always a threat for the win no matter the track.
13 Cruiser featured a super fast young man from Brazil, Iago Machado. On day one he led the group all the way to the last turn where TSS Racing’s Eric Jorrand dove past for the win. Sunday was a different story with Machado winning it all.
31-35 on Saturday saw an epic points race between Answer Rennen’s Patrick Parker and Frenchman Jean Dusserre. Although Jean was often found out front, Patrick used some American muscle to secure low points for the day and the win.
Utah’s Todd Parry was a surprise to see for most of the already stacked 46-50 group. In usual “TP” fashion he found his way to the front both days. This was surprising because on day two he looped out something terrible in his 20-inch semi over the first jump. I think everyone thought he was done for the day at that point but he grinded it out like a champion does.
Carley Young’s Ride like a girl program has steadily been gaining momentum and Saturday’s win in 11 Girls by Piper Yockelson is a testament to the program’s success. Piper got out to an early lead but had heavy pressure from Profile’s Amanda Taylor and ORP’s Jayden Bazemore. Taylor made an early exit to the infield right out of turn one and met up with some track signage and an official. This left the Texan, Bazemore and Yockelson to vie for the victory. Piper was able to hold on for the win, just barely.
Sunday’s 15-16 Girls main event was epic with Canadian Cayleigh Van Staalduinen winning it from the gate. She was able to hold off some of the fastest ladies that the states have to offer. She sits in 9th place in the NAG standings and looks to improve that come Sunday at the Grands.
The very next lap was just as exciting with Michigan’s Elida Beeman finally living up to her potential in 17-20 Women. She has been fighting injury for the last couple of season but she put it all together for the win.
Marshall Gehrke reminds us a lot of one of the phenoms of yesteryear Dwight Tardy. The kid just likes to ride bikes, any kind of bike, and it definitely shows. He has won every national he entered in 2015. That’s 18 nationals in a row for those of you keeping count at home. It was only fitting that he was awarded a Top Gun Jacket before The mains on Sunday. He ages up right before the Grands so we will see if he can conclude his perfect season by winning the big one.
Houston native Rayne Lankford made a statement this weekend by winning 13X both days against some of the fastest riders in the world. We didn’t think anyone would challenge the Latvian powerhouse Ronalds Ritins but we were proven wrong. Keep your eyes out for Lankford. We certainly will.
In the final lap of the weekend two BMX Hall of Famers went down in a blaze of glory in 46 & Over X. Razor’s Billy Griggs had the holeshot and led for the majority of the track but Vendetta’s Eric Rupe came down the second straight looking to pass in a major way. By the time Griggs saw Rupe passing him on the outside of turn two it was too late to stop him as he had way more speed but Griggs tried anyway. If you haven’t seen the picture on this month TOC page, now would be a good time to flip back and see what happened. In the end Profile’s John Pringol got around the flying bikes and took the win.