Blackjack Nationals race report - 2017
FRIDAY THE 13TH
For the superstitious types, Friday the 13th can be a scary day (or a really lame, over-done series of horror films). But for the BMX crowd, this October's Friday the 13th meant a trip up to Reno, Nevada for the traditional Blackjack nationals.
The only slashers we got on film were the AA-pros who were killin' it on the awesome Reno raceway. With 17 Pro women and 21 Pro men, the motos were stacked to the hilt, and racing for a slot in the main was gnarly every round. It was great to see the return of many pros who have been out on injured-reserve. Brooke Crain and Anthony Dean were the prominenr Pros to return to the gate. And both returned just as strong as when we'd last seen 'em.
From the get-go, Alise Post and her chrome GW looked to be the one to beat, but FullT Tilt's Shealen Reno was boostin' big over the doubles into turn two, and could be a factor. Dani George had her good and bad moments, as did J&R's Mika Shaw. But in the end, Post - wearing her World Championship rainbow striped jersey, domainted the final with a good-sized six bike length lead at the finish.
Coming into this race, Alise had a 320 point lead. With straight wins this weekend, she could stretch it even further into the "uncatchable" zone. But not if Brooke Crain has anything to say about it. Haro's blonde bombshell stuck to the 2-spot to keep points close, and hopes to get back on top of the box by the end of this weekend.
ELITE WOMEN - FRIDAY
- 1 ALISE POST, PROMAX/GW, CHULA VISTA, CA
- 2 BROOKE CRAIN, HARO/ROCKSTAR, VISALIA, CA
- 3 SHEALEN RENO, FULL TILT BIKE CO, ARLINGTON, TX
- 4 MIKA SHAW, J&R BICYCLES/CHASE/BOX, CASTLE ROCK, CO
- 5 DANI GEORGE, GT/100 %, PALMDALE, CA
- 6 KEELY KORTMAN, ALPHA, TUSTIN, CA
- 7 ALAINA HENDERSON, HARO/PROMAX, RUBY, NY
- 8 SABRINA BICE, FASTSIGNS/POWERLITE/DFR, LAKE HAVASU CITY, AZ
In the Elite Mens ranks, the Chase twins of Joris Daudet and Connor Fields are within 124 points from eachother. It's been a tight battle all year long, and this weekend could be a HUGE factor in the points chase when The #Grands roll around this November.
After some intense semi action, we wound up with the half of the expected "usuals" - Daudet, Fields, Long and Sharrah, while the other half were chock full of the quickest rising stars. We had the Kiwi track builder Trent Jones, the Aussie on the comeback trail - Anthony Dean, and the "never-count-me-out" duo of Corey Reid and Kenny G.
In the main, it was all Connor Fields from the start. The surprise Pro of the day has to go to Corey Reid - who always shows promise and after a 2nd place on Friday night, could very well be the most under-rated Pro on the circuit. Vegas resident Trent Jones held down the third, while Daudet and Sharrah shut it down like a wobbly nitro burning funnycar to cruise in for 7th and 8th. Having saved their energy, they'llbe all revved up for Saturday and Sunday.
If Fields can keep up this pace - and continue to win until November, the United States could have the first American No.1 Pro since Randy Stmpfhauser.
ELITE MEN - FRIDAY
- 1 CONNOR FIELDS, HENDERSON, NV
- 2 COREY REID, TEMPE, AZ
- 3 TRENT JONES, CHRISTCHURCH
- 4 NIC LONG, HARO/PROMAX, LAKESIDE, CA
- 5 ANTHONY DEAN, CORONA, CA
- 6 KENNETH GUSTAFSON, DOUBLECROSS, PARKER, CO
- 7 JORIS DAUDET, CORONA, CA
- 8 CORBEN SHARRAH, TUCSON, AZ
There were quite a few upgrades to this year's Blackjacks. First off - Elite Pros returned. Over the past five or six years, Reno has been minus the sport's very fastest Pro racers. Another great change-up was the track itself, which saw some gigantic dirt turns and unique, different obstacles. Track builders Billy Allen and LaMont, along with their pack 'n rake posse' did a bang-up job. In a super rare occurrence, there was not a negative word said about the track on the interweb. Just compliments.
With over 200 motos on Day 1 of the Blackjacks, and this being the second-to-last regular season national of the 2018 season, you know we were in for a good show. You could feel it. There was a bit more seriousness in staging, and a bit more intensity in the eyes of those in the hunt for a Top-10 NAG plate for this year.
In the Pro ranks, both Friday winners would do the same, only this time in Elite Men, the Gold medalist would have to fight his teammate for the victory. Joris came out of lane one and nabbed the Answer Holeshot award (cha-ching, $250), but them Connor pulled up alongside him down the second straight and went for an inside swoop in turn two. Joris held off Fields and had the momentum down teh rhythm, but Connor set him up for another pass in the final turn and finally took things over for good. The crowd was loud and on their feet as the Chase twins gave eveyrbody their money's worth.
A secondplace for Joris ensured that Connor's win would get him too many points, but the Pro points battle is still looking tighter than a 1-ton gorilla in spandex.
SUNDAY SLUG FEST
For the Elites, this was a make-up race. Since Louisville got rained out a while back, Reno's Sunday showdown was nicknamed the "Sunday Slugger" - being as the patriotic Louisville Slugger award bats would be given out in the “The Biggest Little City in the World.”
Sunday's make-up race was a heater, as Supercross' Anthony Dean pulled off the upset win of the weekend - showing all of us that 2017 is not just a 2-man, Fields/Daudet show.
- 1 ALISE POST, PROMAX/GW, CHULA VISTA, CA
- 2 LAUREN REYNOLDS, ANSWER/RENNEN, CHULA VISTA, CA
- 3 BROOKE CRAIN, HARO/ROCKSTAR, VISALIA, CA
- 4 MIKA SHAW, JR BICYCLES.COM/CHASE/BOX, CASTLE ROCK, CO
- 5 SOPHIA FORESTA, GT, SOUTH JORDAN, UT
- 6 ASHLEY VERHAGEN, TEMPE, AZ
- 7 DANI GEORGE, GT/100 %, PALMDALE, CA
- 8 ZOE FLEMING, HARO/PROMAX, AUCKLAND
- 1 ANTHONY DEAN, CORONA, CA
- 2 JORIS DAUDET, CORONA, CA
- 3 CONNOR FIELDS, HENDERSON, NV
- 4 KENNETH GUSTAFSON, DOUBLECROSS, PARKER, CO
- 5 TRENT JONES, CHRISTCHURCH
- 6 COREY REID, TEMPE, AZ
- 7 CORBEN SHARRAH, TUCSON, AZ
- 8 ALFREDO CAMPO, VIVANT/GRAEMAN/EVIAN, MURRIETA, CA