The Garden State Nationals were held at Egg Harbor Township BMX, known for running its annual Jack Frost Classic which draws a National-like turnout in often freezing temps. The team of track volunteers had the track in amazing shape and has done a lot of improvements over the last couple of years, often working all week until way after dark to get them completed. The team of track workers, led by Dave Dorofee, has done improvements not limited to installing a barrel gate, moving the second turn back, redesigning the third straight to be very technical, and even moving the entire registration building and track electrical feeds thirty feet to make room for scoring. Egg Harbor Township BMX didn’t hold anything back for this weekend, on Saturday they even had a Coast Guard helicopter fly-over which ended with local racer Petty Officer Robert Ochoa, Aviation Survival Technician 3, being lowered down onto the track from the hovering transport. When Robert Ochoa landed on the ground, he got onto his race bike on the second straight with the American Flag in hand, and led the parade lap for the National Anthem, it was incredible. Day one of the Garden State Nationals started off with the Pro Open, this was a highly anticipated race being as it was Victor Behms first race back after being suspended a little over a year ago. There were only six riders signed up for Saturdays Pro Open. Behm raced incredibly well for not competing in a USA BMX race for over a year, but Alec Bob held him off and came in first, Victor was second and Jake Pletscher came in third.
13-14 Girls Cruiser rider Addison Shreve managed to win both days, Addison always took the early lead and competitor Isabella Nelson could get really close but not past her, finishing side-by-side at the line each time. Addison also went on to win both days in 13 Expert Girls as well.
15-16 Girls Cruiser was dominated all weekend by Tiffany Huber, with Tatiana Hernandez taking the second place, and Sydney Schlotterbeck taking third both days. Tiffany almost won both days of 15-16 Expert Girls, but Paige Zachary dove under Tiffany entering the first turn and Tiffany never could catch up to her. The 17 - 20 Women’s Cruiser finishing order was the same each day, Mariana Gigliuto was first, DJ Harvey second, and Taylor Hunt third.
Marshall Warner won both days of 7 and Under Cruiser, on Sunday Andrew Probert started off in the lead, but Warner was able to catch him on the third straight because he was able to manual every obstacle. Clyde Santos took third on Saturday, but on Sunday Grayson Pierce passed him right before the finish line.
The 10 Cruiser finishing order was the same both days, but first place Mason Hayes and second place Chris Felker battled back and forth for first and finished at side-by-side both days. Miles Kee was close to taking second at one point but finished third both days.
11 Cruiser had Dylan Spansel and Gavin Bradley battling hard too, but Dylan Spansel had a much better fourth straight and passed Bradley right before the line on Saturday and just missing the win by a narrow margin on Sunday and taking second. Alex Marshall took third on Saturday and Dylan Sunday took third on Sunday. Patrick O’Brian dominated the 14 Cruiser class both days, he was always several bike lengths ahead, he also won both days in the 14 Expert class. Saturday Zack Drinkard took second and Nicholas Barone took third, on Sunday the two swapped finishes. Cole Zufelt won both days in the 15 Cruiser class with Blake Powell and Ryan Bramer finishing second and third. Sunday’s second and third order was jumbled because Zachary Close passed Powell and tried to get under Bramer in the second turn, but they collided and Bramer was shot out of the turn and over the fence landing near the finish line. This allowed Michael Amaris to take second and Joseph Owens to take third. Saturdays 17-20 Cruiser class was led by Juan Gomez until the end of the last straight when Anthony Feinstein passed him for the win. Feinstein almost pulled off that same move on race leader Nickolas Elliott on Sunday, however Elliott was able to hold him off and win. Cali Lopez won the 10 Expert Girls class on Saturday and led the whole lap until the last turn on Sunday when Mia Custer, Saturday’s second place rider, dove under her in that turn and went on to win. Camryn Searfoss finished third on both days. Payton Ridenour won on Saturday in the 17-20 Expert Girls class followed by Michelle Pautler and Marianna Gigliuto. Sunday Michell Pautler came out of gate eight and dove under leader Marianna Gigliuto in the first turn, Michelle was able to ride out of the turn to the line and slow down Marianna and take the lead, but it was short lived when Michelle manualled the first double on the second straight and almost went over the bars when she landed it. That slowed Michelle down and allowed Marianna to catch her, they battled out of the second turn, but Marianna passed Michelle on the third straight. Michelle was able to come back for a second strike at her in the third turn and pass her, again it was short lived, and Marianna passed her back before the finish line. This left the finishing order Marianna, Michelle, and Maya Brown. The 11 Expert class had some of the best racing of the weekend, Saturday Gavin Bradley took the early lead and held off Tommy Bruney’s attempt to steal it in the first turn, they raced side-by-side for most of the lap, until the end of the third straight when Bruney made his move and went under Gavin, but still didn’t complete the pass and they collided, sending Gavin into the fourth straight fence. Bruney had a big lead and you would have thought he would go on to win but the side swiping slowed him down and allowed Vance Oudshoorn to pass him just before the line. Bruney still had enough speed to claim second and Dylan Spansel took third. As if the Saturday’s moto wasn’t exciting enough Sundays main surpassed it. Again, by the exit of turn one Bradley had the lead, but this time the order was Bradley, Griffen Kelleher, then Bruney, and it stayed that way until the last turn where Bruney tried his move again but from
the third position and almost pulled it off. Bradley, who learned from yesterday’s mishap, came in from the exit of the turn and they brushed together again but both riders stayed on the track. They stayed side-by-side all of the way down the fourth straight, and Griffen was gaining on them, by the time they made it to the finish line they were three wide, and that’s how they crossed it. The final finishing order was Bradley, Bruney, Kelleher.
Cameron Bramer and Damon Votta took the early lead in the 17-20 Expert class going into the first turn, but they collided which sent Bramer shooting off the top and crashing into the BOX flag and going over the turn, Votta, Sunday’s Main Event winner, stopped just shy of going over. This left Joseph Leto in the lead with Jackson Elliott in second and Evan Sinchak in third. They stayed this way until the last turn when they finally were within a bike length of each other. Coming out of the final turn Jackson ran into Leto’s back with his shoulder forcing Leto off the track and narrowly missing the fence and allowing Jackson to take the lead. This left the final finishing order Jackson, Sinchak, Leto.
That’s it from the Garden State, next stop the Great Lakes Nationals.
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