Spring Nationals Race Report
WORDS AND IMAGES BY: JASON “SHOOTER” MCGUIRE
Duke City BMX experienced a major overhaul earlier this year when the track was rebuilt from the ground up. Social Media has been booming for months in anticipation of this race and the newly designed track, but now would be the tell all of the finished product. Upon our arrival, the immediate thought of the track was “burly.” The crew at Duke City put together an extremely technical track that would test even the most seasoned rider. With deep obstacles, bonsais and an off-camber tabletop, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that this track was going to produce some nail-biting race action.
With this weekend also being the USA Cycling Challenge Class Championships, a lot will be on the line as riders from all around the United States vie for the opportunity to race the World Championships later this year in the Netherlands. Similar to the Music City Nationals last year in Nashville, TN, this weekend’s event is also a three day national, so riders have a perfect opportunity to rack up some much needed national points in their journey for USA BMX NAG and National titles.
Given the unusual three-day format, most racers and their families will not be seen until tomorrow. Nonetheless, the 158 motos of day one was absolutely nuts! With main events kicking off around 5:30 this evening, the Pro Open class was ready to put on a one-lap show for the money. What better way than to have the AA of the group show the A pros the way around the track? Tyler Brown piloted his GT carbon speed series to the top step of the podium after dodging Brandon Elmore’s highflying Ssquared that nearly close lined Brown in their semi. Haro~Promax’s Bryce Hocking stayed close with a strong second and 510 Bay Area’s Pete Pascual continued to impress the crowds with another podium finish.
If anyone ever doubts the ability of girls jumping, than you need to get yourself to Duke City BMX and watch the amateur girls sky the second straight this weekend. I lost count the number of times the ladies left the ground and were aiming for the rafters. Esja Shriver, Jordan Scott, Kelsey Van Ogle and Kristen Bob were all jumping every section of the track that they could. I would say it made a pretty large impact as all four of these ladies picked up the victories in their respective classes.
In other girls racing action, Factory GT’s Sophia Foresta continues to prove that she is one of the fastest amateur girls on the planet. With a tough main event awaiting her, Foresta snapped the pack and checked out. Dan’s Comp’s Kylie Pardue was riding well all day, but unfortunately could not make anything happen and ended her night with a disspaointing 7th place finish. Both Vendetta’s Sadie Thompson and Black Box’s Olivia Armstrong were determined to catch Sophia, but there was not stopping her tonight. The race came to a conclusion by way of Foresta for the win, Thompson with the deuce and Armstrong with the triple.
For the amateur boys, there were two races that clearly stood out over the rest. First off was the 14X class where an unexpected first turn explosion rattled the results like a good old game of Boggle. Phoenix’s Maynard Peel had the holeshot on lock when his front wheel suddenly slipped out from under him and he was sent to the ground. Unfortunately for Kevin Pauls who was trying to setup the pass, his concentration was thrown and he went flying as well. Insert Collin Whittington who took over the lead and never looked back and although Alex Steeves tried every which way to find a way around, it was too little too late.
15X was loaded in the gate when George “G-Mo” Vick and myself were making bets on who was going to take the win. He went for the tried and true, Bubba Gonzales while I chose the wild card of Ponton Cary who had been impressive all day. Gate slammed down and Cary and Gonzales battled into turn one. Gonzales blew a clip and couldn’t recover as Cary kept on the gas with the win in his sights. While this was just a gentleman’s bet, we surely did not expect Tangent’s Dustin Hammond to fly in last minute down the last straight and prove the push was more effective than the pedal through. With a photo finish, it was Hammond who walked away with the win after a fireworks display of racing.
Day one concluded and the buzz was already filtering the air with the excitement for tomorrow’s event. Be sure to check in all day tomorrow for the live audio webcast on usabmx.com/webcast. Also check out the USA BMX Facebook page for updates throughout the day as we determine the qualifiers for the World Championships later this year.
For many riders, their goal on day two of the Spring Nationals was to walk away with the stars and stripes jersey as well as a bid for the opportunity to represent the United States at the World Championships in Holland. However, the Pros were ready to dash for the cash.
A pro helped kick off the main events and what better way than to have three highly touted rookies leading the way straight out of the gate. Rusty Nesvig and Bryce Hocking were working to take the top two spots for the Haro~Promax crew, but Ssquared~Answer’s Brandon Elmore made sure to mix the two up and make a push for the win. Rusty was too smooth and quick for both Elmore and Hocking, which left them battling for the other two spots. Both Pete Pascual and Austin Hiatt could not seem to make anything happen in traffic and Elmore held off Hocking by just enough to secure second place while Hocking pulled in the rear with third.
This year has proven to be pretty tough for the A pro class and the rookies who currently inhabit the race scene are staking their claim. Nesvig continues to close the gap between A and AA, so it should not be long before he makes the departure and battles with the best in the world. So who will get the Rookie Pro of the Year award? It may be too early to tell, but Nesvig is sure making a strong case for the honor.
The Vet pros put on quite a show as the normal drag race between SE’s Javier Colombo and Chase~Stay Strong’s Cristian Becerine was broken up. These two were bar-to-bar down the first and second straights, but things went astray as Becerine bobbled when trying to make the inside swoop on Colombo. Javier slipped away and Cristian fell to the back as Dan’s Comp’s Matt Pohlkamp slid in for second. Hot on his tail was Jaime Staff who was able to hold on for third. This definitely mixed things up in the points and I am sure Cristian will be looking for redemption tomorrow.
The AA pro class was definitely stacked to the gills and it was a toss up on who could take the win as every lap with these guys is similar to watching any given main. It was Nic Long, Maris Strombergs and Sam Willoughby all heading into turn one packed in high and tight. However, Strombergs would blow a gasket coming out of the turn, which almost caused the whole group to implode. By the time Willoughby made it around the carnage, Nic was gone with David Herman in tow. That’s how they would finish at the line and it brought in a much-needed win for Nic Long. Tomorrow will definitely be interesting to see if Maris can recover, if SW91 will stomp the comp for the win or if Nic Long can cap off his weekend with a double.
As I have said all year long, the women’s pro class is better this year than ever before. Today once again proved that as GT’s Felicia Stancil and Shanaze Reade threw down one of the best side-by-side races since Mariana Pajon and Alise Post battled for the title at the 2013 USA BMX Grand Nationals. Reade quickly shot out of the gate and pulled away down the first straight, which paid off as she cashed in on the $250 Answer Holeshot award. However, Stancil was on the hunt like a cheetah prowling for prey. She couldn’t make it under Reade in turn one or two, but quickly caught up in the rhythm and made the setup for the swoop in the final turn. Reade tried to hold the inside, but Stancil came in hot and swooped under her for the pass and the win. That impressive pass showed how talented Felicia Stancil is and that she is ready to contend for the title in her first year as a woman pro.
As mentioned earlier, day two of the Spring Nationals also featured the USA Cycling Challenge Class Championships. For amateurs all over the country, this was their ticket into the World Championships and winning the stars and stripes jersey is an accomplishment that many cherish for a lifetime. While the U.S. has always had a strong presence at the Worlds, the winners of this years USAC race, as well as all of the other qualified riders, looks to be one of the strongest teams yet. USA BMX would like to congratulate all of the following riders who were victorious during today’s event. Also, be sure to check out the USA BMX Facebook page for live updates throughout the weekend. Tune it tomorrow at usabmx.com/webcast for the live audio broadcast and always remember: keep the rubber side down!
CRUISER CLASS CHAMPIONS:
16 & Under Girls: Antonia Faught (Livermore, Calif./ THR/Haro) 17-29 Women: Jaydra Kinsey (Bend, Ore./Blackbox Ind) 30 & Over Women: Heather Allred (Murray, Utah/Factory GT)
12 & Under Boys: Haigen Smith (Leander, Texas) 13-14 Boys: Hunter Brown (W Bountiful, Utah/Extreme Team) 15-16 Boys: Jacob Staten (Las Vegas, Nev.) 17-24 Men: Alec Nesbitt (Phoenix, Ariz.) 25-29 Men: Maurice Horton (San Francisco, Calif.) 30-34 Men: Jonas Harmon (Layton, Utah/GT) 35-39 Men: Chris Knapp (Phoenix, Ariz./Gordy's Bike Shop) 40-44 Men: Scott Moreland (Indianapolis, Ind.) 45 & Over Men: George Goodall (Chandler, Ariz./Redline)
CHALLENGE CLASS CHAMPIONS 5-7 Girls: Kaitlynn Ford (Amarillo, Texas/Mayhem BMX) 8 Girls: Katja Shriver (Downey, Calif./J&R) 9 Girls: Mikaela McEvoy (Inwood, W.V./Time2shinebmx.com) 10 Girls: Richelle Shriver (Downey, Calif./J&R) 11 Girls: Esja Shriver (Downey, Calif./J&R) 12 Girls: Jaycie Sinclair (Spring, Texas) 13 Girls: Jordan Scott (Henderson, Nv./Factory Redman Rockstar) 14 Girls: Kaitlyn Deters (St. Peters, Mo.) 15 Girls: Sophia Foresta (South Jordan, Utah) 16 Girls: Kelsey Van Ogle (Auburn, Wash.) 17 & Over Women: Carly Dyar (Gilbert, Ariz./Redline)
5 & 6 Boys: Cane Wood (Yukon, Okla.) 7 Boys: Deegan Warnock (Yuma, Ariz.) 8 Boys: Ronnie Kim (Corona, Calif.) 9 Boys: Cannon Wood (Yukon, Okla.) 10 Boys: Connor Defrain (La Palma, Calif./ Haro/Promax) 11 Boys: Jack Kelly (Kearns, Utah) 12 Boys: Patrick Coo (Bellflower, Calif.) 13 Boys: Roman Jaworsky (Las Vegas, Nv./Factory Redman Rockstar)
14 Boys: Aram Schwinn (Magnolia, Texas/Hostile Elite) 15 Boys: Michael Gonzales (Watsonville, Calif./Hyper Bicycles) 16 Boys: Ryan Pettigrew (Watsonville, Calif.) 17-24 Men: Brandon Cato (Oakland, Calif.) 25-29 Men: Matthew Baisley (Meridian, Ind./ Fly/Supercross/Arisun)
30 & Over Men: Tim Kneip (Austin, Texas/CCH Bicycles)
Masters Men: Stephen Larralde (Riverside, Calif.)
After two phenomenal days of racing, it was going to be hard to put on a show that could further impress the spectators. However, when BMXers are faced with a challenge, they grab the bike by the bars and handle their business to get the win. Enter Rusty Nesvig who once again laid down the law in the A pro class with a demanding victory. Brandon Elmore tried to sneak in through the cracked door in the last turn, but was unsuccessful leaving him to settle for second while Austin Hiatt nabbed the final podium spot. Nesvig is closing in on that $4,000 mark at a rapid pace and it will not be long before we see him in AA.
The Vet pro class changed it up quite a bit in regards to the finishes on the final day of the Spring Nationals. Cristian Becerine made sure to get his redemption after a disappointing finish on Saturday. Not only would he win the main, but he handled each lap like it was no sweat at all. Matt Pohlkamp continued to star as consistent as ever with a well-earned second place finish. Saturday’s victor, Javier Colombo, seemed sluggish throughout the day and could never seem to find his rhythm. That would ultimately end in a third place finish just edging out Jaime Staff.
Skipping ahead to the AA class, it was once again a crazy day. Marc Willers, Justin Posey and Corben Sharrah all missed out on the main for day three while Steven Cisar, Jason Rogers and Kurt Pickard gladly took their place. After Maris shut it down early in Saturday’s main and Sam had continued to fight the track, it was going to be interesting to see how they handled themselves today. The second the gate dropped, it was immediately known that Haro’s Kurt Pickard had the race won, unless of course he made a mistake. No mistakes were made as he ended up going wire-to-wire for the win. Sam Willoughby (2nd) and Maris Strombergs (3rd) both made sure to handle their business and make the box to round out the top three.
Up until this year, the main rivalry within the ladies Pro class has always laid between Alise Post and Dominique Daniels. That has all changed in 2014 as Shanaze Reade and the rookie, Felicia Stancil have lit the flame to a new rivalry that was in full force over the weekend. During the second round of motos Shanaze led the pack into the second turn, little did she know that Felicia was coming in hot and ready to bang down the door. Unfortunately for both riders, Stancil’s aggressive move sent both of them to the ground. Both riders remained unscathed, but it set the mood for the main event in an epic way. When the final eight ladies loaded into the gate, Reade and Stancil were placed right next to one another in gates five and six. Out of the gate, Reade had the advantage and quickly moved over to shut the door on Stancil. That was all she needed to cruise her way to her first victory racing the USA BMX Pro series. Stancil was able to recover after her bobble and finish with a respectable third, but Supercross’ Dani George put her Supercross carbon BLK on overdrive and picked up a solid second place finish.
The amateur racing was once again a treat for spectators as the wild and technical track worked as a huge game changer in almost every straight. One of those moments was in 36-40 cruiser where Gordy’s Bicycles rider Chris Knapp had a huge bobble over the first obstacle and was immediately sent to the back of the pack. That did not keep Knapp from putting everything into recovering and it left for the remainder of the race to be quite exciting. Knapp came barreling out of turn one and threaded the needle and started passing by riders with every pedal. At one point Knapp almost went off the track into the soft stuff, but he was able to hold his composure and by the second turn he was back into fourth place fighting for third. He would make the final pass to make third place happen, but it was a little too late to pick up another position as Corey Mitchell grabbed the win and Marc McCombs secured second. It was definitely one of the best examples of fighting all the way to the line!
Anna Johnson continued her 13-14 girls cruiser class rivalry with Olivia Armstrong. I know this is a pair that I have talked about a couple of other times this year, but they definitely put on quite a show when they are on the track. This go round Anna Johnson would hold off the hard charging Olivia Armstrong to grab another win, but would not be as fortunate in her 20” class when Kaitlyn Deters and her got tangled up and took a dirt sample, which sent them both to the last positions. There is no doubt the battle between these girls will push them both to become better riders and their racing rivalry definitely makes for something to write about!
Speaking of great racing for the ladies, 17-20 girls expert was a battle all the way to the line. Alltow Wrecking Crew’s Kristen Bob had things on lock all weekend and was the favorite for another win, but Redline’s Carly Dyar and Supercross’ Rachel Mydock had something else to say about that. Kristen Bob was shutdown almost immediately after the 30-foot line and that left her struggling for the remainder of the race, which Dyar and Mydock rocketed out to the front of the pack. Dyar had the lead the entire race and was able to hold off Mydock for the win, but it was not easy, as she had to hug the inside in order to keep Mydock at bay. It was definitely an exciting racing and I am sure these ladies will continue to go back and forth as we continue on in the journey to the Grands.
For the fellas, the 10x class was an absolute showstopper. Haro~Promax’s Connor Defrain and the privateer Brandon York were going back and forth on the lead through the first and second straights. As they both held to the outside over the step-up into turn two, Brandon York was ready to take the inside line and the lead until Redline~Challenge’s Ethan Moore launched into flight and landed on the inside line where he would push his other two competitors up for the lead. Moore continued to stay smooth the rest of the way and nabbed the win in impressive fashion.
As the Spring Nationals concluded, everyone was ready for some much needed R&R after the three-day event. USA BMX would like to thank all of those who joined us at Duke City BMX and we hope that you had a wonderful weekend of racing. We also want to give a shout out to the entire staff at Duke City for their wonderful hospitality and all of their hard work that was put into the weeks leading up to this event. Join us next week as the USA BMX big rig rolls into Nashville, TN for the 2014 USA BMX Music City Nationals and stop six of the USA BMX Pro Series.