2020 Carolina Nationals race report
Rock Hill. Those two words alone conjure up thoughts of World Championship racing, a first-class BMX facility and super-dooper exciting racing. Rock Hill simply RULES. Every BMXer who has been here wants to return. And many participants this weekend, were here for the first time - getting a taste of what not only this track, but the entire city of Rock Hill, South Carolina, has to offer.
The City of Rock Hill loves BMX - and all things cycling. Which is why USA BMX was able to make this the third "return" National after the global shutdown. This weekend in particular, they had this National, along with softball and flag gootball tournamanets, all happening at once.- as a full-on return to normalcy.
That's not to say the usual precautions weren't in place - social distancing and mask-wearing were still encouraged, and the new widely-distanced staging area was in effect. And the large span of bleachers gave everybody plenty of room to space out from eachother.
Kicking off Friday with 212 motos, this was the largest turnout since the return to racing. Saturday had 221 motos, and Sunday wrapped up with 206.
THE RIVALRY ...CONTINUES.
If there were only one class to pay attention to in the sport right now, it'd be 14x. For the past year, it's been the hotly-contested rivalry between Box's franchise amateur - Ronnie Kim, and the BMX Shark on the prowl, Cedric "The Entertainer" Cade. It was just about a year ago when Ced was biting the heels of Ronnie, who has been the Ruler Supreme of this age class since age 8. With multiple World Championships and even more NAG No.1 plates, Kim is and always will be the one to beat.
Now, one year since Ronnie's long-standing win-streak was stopped in Las Vegas, Cedric has been workin' hard at beating Ronnie flat-out ...and more often. Just a week before the Carolina's, they'd split the wins in Phoenix, with Cedric = 2, Ronnie = 1. On Sunday, Cedric watched 14x from the sidelines crashin' out in the semi.
These two weren't about to take a break in this three 3-Day National weekends in a row - and both had come to Rock Hill to continue the rivalry. Only this time, the tables turned further more, as Ronnie found himself in the very unusual spot of 5th-in-the-semi on Friday.
14 EXPERT - FRIDAY
- 1 CEDRIC CADE, BMX SHARKS, LAS VEGAS, NV
- 2 ANDREW RASSI, FACTORY REMIX, REDWOOD VALLEY, CA
- 3 ETHAN POPOVICH, MUDSLINGERS BIKE SHOP, VALPARAISO, IN
- 4 TYLER BAILEY, VENDETTA/ELITE BICYCLES, SMITHFIELD, RI
- 5 CHARLES ST ROMAIN, CLAYBORN, BATON ROUGE, LA
- 6 MARCUS MOORE, BLACK WIDOW BMX, ANDOVER, MN
- 7 HAYDEN BOYD, BALTIMORE, MD
- 8 ROCCO PESATURO, JRBICYCLES.COM/SPEEDCO, ROYAL PALM BEACH, FL
Cedric, who is being trained by Ronnie's former trainer - Richie Anderson, is getting the dialed-in starts consistently, compared to Ronnie - who suddenly seems to be struggling with his killer snaps. Also, it seems that Cedric is now in Ronnie's head, and needs to get back in that "unbeatable mindset" that he's had for the past seven or eight years. For the first time in his BMX career, Ronnie Kim is experiencing the "slump" that all great athletes get into from time to time.
On both Saturday & Sunday, Cedric beat Ronnie again - flat out, fair 'n square. Again, the Box superstar had an awful gate and just couldn't catch Cedric. Ink in three more wins for The Entertainer!
With 34 riders in 14x on Saturday, there were some hefty National points on the line this weekend. If these two keep splitting the wins like an atom, they will both be up for the National No.1 Amateur title come November, and that main event is bound to be explosive!
A GOOD DAY
With 37 riders in the 13x, two or three wins in this class could bump a guy into the No.1 Amateur point standings. And Full Tilt's Sean Day - the National No.2 rider from last year, was poised to do it.
The announcers and his Full Tilt teammates call Sean "Suave" (or sometimes, "Rico Suave" if they're in the mood)... which, if you look up in the dictionary, it reads:
The River Valley BMX local proved his smoothness all weekend, and won each day with hefty leads; often three, five or ten bike lengths ahead of second place. The coolest thing about Day is that he's not out doing sprints every day or going to the gym. If you ask him, he'll tell you 'I just ride."
But if you ask us, or his competition - he does more than just ride. He rides fast. REAL fast.
13 EXPERT - FRIDAY
- 1 SEAN DAY, FULL TILT/RADIO, TACOMA, WA
- 2 PARKER RESPASS, HYPER, CHESAPEAKE, VA
- 3 WYATT WORTH, REMIX, COALINGA, CA
- 4 CHAYSE MRAZEK, BISHOP, TX
- 5 BRYCE BLUMER, ISANTI, MN
- 6 TYE YOUNG, RIVAL RACING, DENVER, NC
- 7 NICHOLAS SANCHEZ, FASTHOUSE, JACKSONVILLE, FL
- 8 SEBASTIAN BETTINGER, LDC, RALEIGH, NC
KING of PRO OPENS
The Carolina's brought out the big guns this weekend. When you've got a facility as cool as Rock Hill, it brings 'em out in droves. With 26 Pros signed up, fans and spectators were treated to some incredible racing. With a good mix of AA-pros and single A's and even two or three Women Pros, it was evident that everybody was ready to get #backontrack after months of shutdown and isolation.
Corsa's Jeremy Smith, to us, was looking super impressive and was thought to be the man to beat.
PRO OPEN - SATURDAY
- 1 ANDERSON SOUZA, J&R/SPEEDCO/AVIAN/PROFILE, OCOEE, FL
- 2 KAMREN LARSEN, SUPERCROSS, BAKERSFIELD, CA
- 3 JEREMY SMITH, STAY STRONG/CORSA RACEWEAR, DAYTON, OH
- 4 JOSHUA MCLEAN, FULL TILT/RADIO, HIGHLAND PARK, QLD
- 5 COLE TESAR, HUNTERSVILLE, NC
- 6 BRAYAN QUERALES, FLORIDA ANSWER SSQUARED, ORLANDO, FL
- 7 TYLER KLUMPER, CORSACREW, TARPON SPRINGS, FL
- 8 JHOLMAN SIVIRA, M&M RACING PRODUCTS, HOLLYWOOD, FL