2018 Derby City Nationals race report
How does the BMX World spend Labor Day weekend? For decades now, Derby City BMX - located in E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park has been our sport's longest lasting Labor Day tradition. Now, with their dual starting hills and super-speedway track design, Louisville remains many pros and top amateurs favorite track of all time.
This is one race that is highly anticipated by ALL. ...including, it seems, ol' Mother Nature.
We can probably count on one hand, the times that it has NOT rained in Louisville. And you might need to use both hands and all of your toes to count how many time it has. But with a track as awesome as Derby City BMX and its grassy rolling-hills of a State Park pit area, weather rarely deters the hardcore BMX fanatics. RV's, campers and tents started setting up early, and everybody was ready to let 'er rip.
...including, it seems, good ol' Mother Nature.
THUNDER 'n LIGHTNING
Friday kick-sarted the 3-day National (the final 3-Day'er of 2018), and there were quite a few standouts during practice. For one, Jr.Elite Women were out in force. The Throdwn squad and WiaWis crews were out in full force, and DK was looking sharp with Zula pulling up in the DK Sprinter - and being joined by the Aussie super siblings of Kai and Saya Sakakibara. If you don't recognize their names yet, you will when Tokyo 2020 rolls around, and both are the likely Top Dogs of Team Australia. From Alpha to Yess, and all letters inbetween, this weekend was packed with the who's-who of BMX.
Motos were flyin', and semi's were spectacular. And the main-makers were putting on a show - but then came the rain. Followed by some thunder ...and eventually, the USA BMX Lightning Meter hit the "close enough" mark that Bill "Doplar Radar" Morris decided to stop the mains and finish it out on Saturday.
[NOTE: For those wondering, YES - we use a P5-3 SkyScan Lightning Detector; which is commonly used by most major outdoor sports associations and teams. It will pick up electrical activity as far as 40 miles away and track the storm as it approaches, and will indicate lightning in four ranges: 20-40 miles (32-64 km), 8-20 miles (13-32 km), 3-8 miles (5-13 km) and 0-3 miles (0-5 km) - which is the range where we call the race.]
THE KENTUCKY KITTY-LITTER SHORTAGE
Friday night, the USA BMX crew bought out every bag of kitty litter they could find within a 30 mile radius, and the work began at dark Saturday morning to get the Derby City track back in tip-top shape. They were obviously a few wet spots that would rut-out, but once the sun shone and practice was over, the track was almost as smooth and packed as it was when we got here earlier in the week.
At high-noon, we picked right up at the 13novice main and the action intensified. It would be a long day for the riders, with all of the 13-year-old or older riders having a shot at two class mains in one day. Add to that, once the sun warmed things up, the heat and humidity began to rise!
THE CHASE FOR COUNTRY POINTS KICKS OFF
Saturday, Sept 1, was the first day for Countries to earn UCI points toward Olympic qualification, and #TeamUSA did us proud. Country points from here on out will determine which countries will get to compete in #Tokyo2020 and how many riders they get to bring. We, of course, want to be one of the two countries who gets to bring three men and two women. But there's a long road head of us, and American pros are going to have to not just make mains, but be on the important podiums, to make it happen.
#France got a big boost with Chase's Joris Daudet scoring two more wins (and the custom-made Louisville Sluggers that come with it), and #USA scored bigtime with seven Americans in Saturday's Mens final and six out of eight Women in Day-1's Elite main - which was won by Alise Willoughby both days.
LAST STRAIGHT PULL
Louisville has long been known for its exciting and challenging last stretch. When you speed out of the last turn, you face a killer rhythm section and have a chance to make moves. ...and plenty of Pros did!
Saturday's Pro mains were full of different Holeshot winners than the eventual winners - and a whole lot of different winners than those who led the race coming out of the last turn. In other words, Pro winners such as A-pro Standard's Brandon Roharik made the pass on Menardo Simon to score Saturday's win, and The Mosquito, Jonathan Suarez whizzed by Tyler Brown on the last straight rhythm to nip him at the line.
- 1 BRANDON ROHARIK, STANDARD BYKE CO, AKRON, OH
- 2 MENARDO SIMON, PHILADELPHIA, PA
- 3 BRADY KINCHELOE, FACTORY POWERS BIKE SHOP, YORK, SC
- 1 JONATHAN SUAREZ, ALPHA, CORAL SPRINGS, FL
- 2 TYLER BROWN, 316 RACING, CHULA VISTA, CA
- 3 CRISTIAN BECERINE, THRODWN, COSTA MESA, CA