Music City Nationals - Nashville Race Report
For decades now, generations of BMX racers have looked forward to the weekend of Nashville's national. Going all the way back to the glory days of the Murray World Cup or the NBL Grands, this track has hosted some incredible racing. ...and that was with fairly flat berms! This year, riders were treated to some major bankage in the berms, with fresh asphalt to boot. If you thought past races were hot, then this weekend was going to be boiling!
This year was also a 3-day national, meaning that the scolding-hot action would begin early on Friday and heat up toward the mains.
When you blast out of the Music City starting gate, out from underneath the shaded roof of staging, it's all about power. Nashville's first straight is wide open, with a small roller to either throw you off or help build up more speed, before you hit one of the most famous and monsterous tabletop jumps in our sport. Whether you sky it over the 30-foot distance, or slap down your rear wheel to roll it at mach speeds, it's got to be one of the funnest feelings one can have in BMX racing. Next up comes the super-sized step-double that often makes the difference between winning or not. This is THEE photo spot on the track, and whether it's PULL magazine or Mike Carruth from BMXnews.com, you can usually find one of them there with flash tripods surrounding the sidelines. Riders are usually still packed together tightly at the peak of this jump, which then sends you carving in to the first turn. Prior to this year, this turn was short and low, and saw plenty of elbow-action. This year, it more resembled the embankment at the Daytona 500, and racers would hook into eachothers draft and make moves left 'n right.
The second and third straights in Nashville are juts plan fun and fast. The big step-up out of the first turn, followed by two pairs of doubles can provide plenty of airtime if you want it, and will test your scrubbing skills for those maintaining their mass-velocity into turn two. The third straight rhythm still saw packs of riders hitting it side-by-side, sometimes 3 or 4 abreast. It's slightly downhill and super fast, and one minor mistake could send you off the side and in to the grassy infield.
The last turn, just like the first, had been completely bowled out, enabling riders to carve it up like a Thanksgiving turkey. Plenty of moves were made here all weekend, and a ton of riders out of a transfer position were able to set up the rider in front of them to pull a swoop and drag-race to the finish. This made for plenty of close races to the line, and gave spectators plenty of excitement.