2018 Lumberjack Nationals race report
THE ILLUSTRIOUS LEGACY
River Valley BMX in Sumner, WA. is one of those legendary tracks that has been servicing the Northwest for nearly five decades. Original operators Mike Raich and Gary Ellis Sr. set the wheels in motion in the 80's and it's been a staple on the Northwest BMX scene ever since - hosting many State Championships and multiple Nationals throughout each decade. Legendary riders - such as BMX Hall of Famers Gary Ellis and Clarence Perry both honed their skills on this track, and it's safe to say that maybe 1/4 of the 500,000+ points that Pee Wee Lee has earned in his lifetime were scored right here at River Valley BMX. So many great factory riders have come out of this area, it's impossible to list them all.
It's been two years since USA BMX has made River Valley BMX a stop on the National circuit. Last time we were here, it was like stepping back into the 90's. It was dubbed a "retro" National - with its thin straightaways and small turns. But not this year! The River Valley crew has been working around the clock the past couple of months to prepare for some National-caliber racing. This time around, everyone arrived to find that the legendary NW track was looking the best it's ever been. "Smoother, wider, harder, faster" should be their new slogan - and it definitely exceeded all expectations.
It's like, before - the track was like the old 2-lane version of I-5. Now, it's like the current I-5 with 5 lanes and a carpool. There'd be a LOT less traffice and way more room for passing and cruisin' 3-riders wide.
The entire track now looks like it's been widened by about 5 feet, making for plenty of room to pass and build up speed, and the entire course is packed in nicely and as smooth as glass! "We actually had people complaining now that the track is too fast," they told us. The jump-infested second straight away is still a blast, with challenging obstacles and chances to sky it out if you'd like. It's just an amazing transformation and we couldn't wait to see the riders go at it for the Lumberjack Nationals.
The Northwest has long been a hotbed for top-notch riders and fast local teams. The 2018 scene is no different than it was in the 80's and 90's, with a wide array of fast cats with grey NAG plates, NW pull, skills and style. (Often, that "style" includes racing with a open face helmet and no visor, and maybe even flat pedals - if your name is Pee Weel Lee.). As Grindle always warns folks, "They might look like a buncha bowling balls, but watch out for 'em!"
THE PRO SHOW
It was a brisk Sunday morning and the Arizona BMX staff were wondering why they only packed shorts in their suitcases. Hundreds of BMX families were pulling into the park for the final day of action, while the Pros were warming up. Lining up along the first turn fence were a bunch of young BMXers (who'd probably camped out there this weekend), and they were obviously excited that the Lumberjack nationals were in town.
Driven team leader Jeffrey Upshaw had done a few hot-laps to get the blood flowing, and decided to do what he does best - throwing out a style-lap for the fans. He cleared the big step-double into turn one, easily and effortlessly. The first turn kids were blown away- "WHOOOOOAA!" ...then Upshaw layed down his usual smoothness, whippin' it out down the jump-filled second straight. The kids along the fence were freakin' out - "Did you see that?" Next, Upshizzle decides to manual the entire rhythm section - and the Ooooh's and Awwwww's from the kids continued.
THAT is a big part of what being a Pro is about. Having skills above all others, and being able to use those to have kids idolize your riding and look up to you. On that cold morning in Sumner, Upshaw just made about 20 more fans, who would no doubt cheer him on as he went to win Pro Open both days.
PRO OPEN - SUNDAY
- 1 JEFFREY UPSHAW, DRIVEN CYCLING ACADEMY, DAYTON, OH
- 2 ALAN HUDSON, ALPHA, PHOENIX, AZ
- 3 ZACHARY SHOOPMAN, DES MOINES, WA
- 4 ERIC MULLER, UPRIGHT CLOTHING CO, EUGENE, OR
- 5 DYLAN SHANKS, NORTHWEST BMX, REDMOND, OR
- 6 ANDRE LACROIX, OLDSMAR, FL
Obviously, the Yess riders were in full force, coming across the US/Canadian border in droves, along with the Canadian Rift rippers. Then there is the NW-owned Doublecross and Ballistic riders, who continue to make waves in any race they enter. There is even a Gunslinger NW crew who were constantly seen out front of motos and a few mains. And you can't leave out the Diablos Racing squad or the NW hot-shop - GHY Bikes, and their posse of pedal pushers.
Just too many fast teams to mention then all.
CRUISIN' FOR A BRUISIN'
Of course, we can't leave out the Factory Corsa riders from the NW; who were making their presence known. Pasco's Mason Meininger had some tough comp but defended his NW turf nicely by battling with Oregon's Joshua Loudermilk.
- 1 MASON MEININGER, FACTORY CORSA RACEWEAR, PASCO, WA
- 2 JOSHUA LOUDERMILK, RIDE365.COM/GUNSLINGER, SALEM, OR
- 3 ZAINE STENSON, SONIC BMX, MAPLE VALLEY, WA
- 4 JACOB CRABTREE, FACTORY LDC, RENO, NV
- 5 NICHOLAS WACKFORD, ALPHA, SACRAMENTO, CA
- 6 CHANCE HEDRICK, EMERALD VALLEY BMX, EUGENE, OR
- 7 JOSHUA WILBUR-HENRY, DIABLOS RACING, OAK HARBOR, WA
This could very well be "The Year" for Cancer-survivor Jimmy Nelson. He's been kickin' his comps butt just as much as he did the Big-C, and he's right up there in the hunt for the National No.1 title this November. Taking on the best the Northwest has to offer - from Archibald to Mattoni, Clark or Zahnow, Top-Jimmy had his work cut out for him. With 12-riders in the 46-50 class, they and 9cruiser were the largest rider-counts for the weekend. Just as FullTilt'er Gavyn Fox did in 9cru, Nelson backed his score up with two wins as well this weekend.
- 1 JIM NELSON, FACTORY VENDETTA/ELITE, SACRAMENTO, CA
- 2 DAVID ARCHIBALD, PRIVATEER, PUYALLUP, WA
- 3 DINO MATTONI, BAD ACE, PUYALLUP, WA
- 4 STEVE CLARK, BUCKLEY, WA
- 5 LONNY LIERLEY, GUNSLINGER BICYCLES, LAS VEGAS, NV
- 6 JASON RUSHFORTH, TACOMA, WA
- 7 JAMES KRAINTZ, TRUTH BMX, LAKE STEVENS, WA
- 8 BRANDON ZAHNOW, GHY BIKES, MILTON, WA
TINY Lil' THING
No matter where she goes, people say the same thing - "WOW!" "Look at how fast that tiny girl is!" Yup, it's Arizonan J&R rider Ellie Carey, and after her cruiser win in Missouri a couple of weeks ago, she came to Washington determined to do it again. Sure enough, lil' Miss.Ellie wow'ed the crowd and battled it in 10 & Under Girls cruiser. Now, keep in mind - Ellis is SEVEN years old, and looks like she's about half the size of the 10 year olds she is racing in there. We are beginning to think that she's got mroe heart and determination than lil' Donny Robinson - who used his short stature to win a Olympic Bronze medal in 2008. So, that's saying a LOT about Careyand her quest to win it all.
10 & UNDER GIRLS CRUISER - SUNDAY
- 1 ELLIE CAREY, JR BICYCLES.COM/CHASE/BOX, GOODYEAR, AZ
- 2 KAYLIE PRIOR, RACEFAST, BAKERSFIELD, CA
- 3 BREEANNE VAUGHAN, FACTORY AVENT/BOMBSHELL, WALNUT, CA
- 4 JADE DURFEE, UPRIGHT/URBAN GRAVITY, BEND, OR
- 5 VETA CRAMER, GHY BIKES, DES MOINES, WA
7 GIRLS - SATURDAY
- 1 ELLIE CAREY, JR BICYCLES.COM/CHASE/BOX, GOODYEAR, AZ
- 2 KENNEDY KNOPP, THE BIKEMASTER, RICHLAND, WA
- 3 JORDAN TAYLOR, AUSTIN ACES, BONNEY LAKE, WA
- 4 ROSIE YOCHIM, YESS, COOMBS, BC
- 5 KENZIE GREEN, UPRIGHT, OLALLA, WA
- 6 LEAH HOLMES, REMIX BMX, FERNLEY, NV
HEY, HAYES, HAYES, IT's...
Still, the one Girls class you DO NOT want to miss is 15-16 girls. On Friday, while watching practice, NW local Steve Clark commented that "I'm sure glad I don't have to race against Bubba Haye's girls." And he's right. None of us old cruiser dudes would have a chance - Emily and Ashley are FAST!
But so is Canada's Violet Cejalvo, who now does it for Doublecross. She's long been known for her speed, skills and BMX-photographer Dad, Lee. So, it would be interesting to see how Ultra-Violet would match up against the hard-chargin' Hayes twins. On Saturday, Violet had the killer start of her lifetime and had River Valley BMX track dialed in to charge in for the win, but on Sunday it was a different story as it'd be Hayes & Hayes one and two.
With 12 girls in that class each day 9the second largest rider-count, after 13girls), those would be some worthy points in the No.1 Girl title chase, and as we begin counting down the days until The Grands, the anticipation for the Girls title chase is already killin' us.
15-16 GIRLS - SATURDAY
- 1 VIOLET CEJALVO, DOUBLECROSS, SURREY, BC
- 2 EMILY HAYES, POWERLITE DANS COMP DFR, CO
- 3 GRACE PADILLA, BAY AREA BMXERS, CA
- 4 ASHLEY HAYES, POWERLITE DANS COMP DFR, CO
- 5 ROBYN SCHENK, GARIBALDI HIGHLANDS, BC
- 6 ISLA HUTTON, BALLISTIC BMX, LANGLEY, BC
- 7 SIERRA ALTENDORF, BALLISTIC BMX, EVERETT, WA
- 8 JASMINE TOPPER, NO XCUSES/ SSQUARED/ ODI, CA
15-16 GIRLS - SUNDAY
- 1 EMILY HAYES, POWERLITE DANS COMP DFR, COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
- 2 ASHLEY HAYES, POWERLITE DANS COMP DFR, COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
- 3 VIOLET CEJALVO, FACTORY DOUBLECROSS, SURREY, BC
- 4 GRACE PADILLA, BAY AREA BMXERS, BUELLTON, CA
- 5 ISLA HUTTON, BALLISTIC BMX, LANGLEY, BC
- 6 BRENNA BRADY, EXTREME TEAM, YUBA CITY, CA
- 7 ROBYN SCHENK, GARIBALDI HIGHLANDS, BC
- 8 SIERRA ALTENDORF, BALLISTIC BMX, EVERETT, WA
One of the best rivalries of the weekend had to have been in 11x, where Sumner locals True Bailey and Throdwn's Sean Day went at it, head-to-head, grip-to-grip, in practically every match up. Some of the locals were tellin' us how hard Bailey has been working to be the top guy in 11x; putting in the hours and training to work his way to the top - where Day has been for the past couple of years. On Saturday, it was True. Bailey scored the win and was reaping the rewards for all of the time he's been putting in.
On Sunday, coming out of lane 7, while Day was in lane 2, it was once again te Bailey -vs- Day show as they blasted to the first turn. Again, True took the lead and never looked back.
- 1 TRUE BAILEY, FACTORY ORCO/BOMBSHELL, LAKE TAPPS, WA
- 2 SEAN DAY, THRODWN, TACOMA, WA
- 3 TARIN (TARIN IT UP)FIELDS, FACTORY DAD, NEWMAN LAKE, WA
- 4 CHASE BULLER, JUST CUZ RACING, RODEO, CA
- 5 CAMPBELL MAYBON, BOMBSHELL/AVENT, CARBONDALE, CO
- 6 JACK MACQUARRIE, YESS,HEIRLOOM JUICE CO., DELTA, BC
- 7 CARSON ALLEN, THRODWN, LAS VEGAS, NV
- 8 GABRIEL TRERISE, NORTHWEST BMX, SHERWOOD, OR
Perhaps more stoked than normal to see himself in PULL magazine for this month's Clipped-In article, Portland's Jayce Bartley came to the Lumberjacks as a favorite in 13x. Much of the Factory LDC riders were in Sumner, and they were all puttin' in some good laps. Come main-time, Bartley showed why he was more than deserving of a PULL magazine feature - and made the win look easy.
- 1 JAYCE BARTLEY, FACTORY LDC, MILWAUKIE, OR
- 2 GAGE BROWN, BEND, OR
- 3 JOHN HAYNES IV, 208 RIFT, COEUR D ALENE, ID
- 4 NICK SARICH, MISFITS, SPOKANE, WA
- 5 KAI ALTENDORF, BALLISTIC BMX, EVERETT, WA
- 6 TYLER WHITMAN, AUSTIN ACES, AUBURN, WA
- 8 ANGEL PLATA, LAKE FOREST PARK, WA
- 8 KHARI DAWSON, GHY BIKES, SEATTLE, WA
Whatta weekend! This year's Lumberjack Nationals were incredible - and despite the 126 moto turnout, it was still larger than last year's race and the track was more diald in than its ever been! The fans had a blast, the racing was hot, the weather was perfectly cool and everyone had a blast.