Mid-America Nationals race report
Just a few days before the Mid-America Nationals, the World lost one of the greatest, innovatie and influential guitar players of all time - Eddie Van Halen. The older-gen BMX World who grew up listening to Van Halen albums on 8-track or cassette, were all mourning the loss of a Rock legend.
Thus, on my way to Omaha, NE for the Mid-America Natls, I texted National Director Bill Morris a suggestion: "Let's honor Eddie's legacy by playing Van Halen non-stop during Friday practice." His reply was sinmply "NO." I tried again - "How about just kicking off practice with their greatest album - VH-1." Again, Bill declined. Once at the track, I pressed him more, but he replied - "These little kids dont know who Van Halen is." Well, I replied - THEY SHOULD! I'm sure you all would agree.
So even if we didn't get a Van Halen marathon over the PA system - at least you'll get one here, in the #MidAmericaNats race report. Who's ready to rock?!
RIGHT NOW / EVERYBODY WANTS SOME
Combine two of Van Halen's greatest songs and it's true - "Right now, everybody does want some BMX racing!" As the country continues to slowly re-open rom the Covid lock-down (...well, except for California), it's obvious by the turnouts that BMX families from all over are anxious to get back to the ol' familiar BMX racing.
And Omaha BMX was a great place to get your BMX groove on. After checking it out the day after the CornHusker Nationals in nearby Lincoln, the track crew and Omaha CVB were given a list of improvements that should be made prior to the big one. ... and they pulled it off perfectly! Upon arrival in Omaha, the track was National-worthy and race-ready. With its paved turned, the surface was dialed in and hard packed, and the obstacles were abundant. A rockin' rhythm and a monsterous double-step-down-double jump that needs a better name, were challenging all racers, of all age and skill level.
Unarguably THEE best instrumental that ABA has ever used for a Pro rollout / race intro, if your ears have never heard Van Halen's Eruption while wearing headphones - you're missing out. Go do it, right now.
(go ahead - list to Eruption - we'll wait right here for ya)... ... ...See?! I told ya.
By the way, there's smoke coming out of your earlobe.
Just like the ear-shredding licks from Eddie VH, the Mid-America nationals featured some track-shredding rippers from all around the U.S.. In practice, we were amazed at the caliber of NAG-contenders who came out to Omaha for this third-to-last regular-season National of 2020.
Wahlly, our social media guy, was super stoked to see that Floridian Joseph Leto was here. The AllTow-Yess rider is now attending Lindenwood U, and it looked as if he brought out half of their student faculty with him. From Utah came Factory GT's Brooklyn Von Renselaar. From Missouri we saw Powerlite's Lola Jonjevic. From Montana came Landon Burian - who's been known to triple and double at any given time. From Tennessee, the Strange-ones arrived - probably in some mind-blowing, hopped-up ride. From Idaho arrived the Driven Academy, primed to continue their winning ways from the Gold Cup NW. Escaping from Oregon for the weekend was Full Tilt's Josh Trerise. From California, Elite's recently-hitched Shane Harlow honored us with his presence, as did Georgia's Shan "The Man" Hatfield, with his Zeronine rides. Fresh off of his home-state national the week prior, BMX legend Bubb Hayes made it two in a row from the Mile High state. Out of North Carolina came one of 2020's most improved racers - Charlie Biggs. And then there was 12x Missouri Mike ...I don't remember where he's from.
Even Arizona's Woody Woodruff made an appearance, rather than hitting the Arizona State Finals this very same weekend. With soooooo many quick riders Texas and Minnesota, it'd be impossible to call out just one or two.
In all, Omaha BMX was erupting with BMX talent!
TOP OF THE WORLD
The girls classes in Omaha were chock-full of talent; many who are at the Top of their NAG standings, or at least in the hnt for a Top-5 grey plate. On the list of Top Girls would be Factory Box's Jemma Tollefson, who is the epitome of determination. In 9 girls, it was Bombshell's Natalia Kovacs on the top spot each day. Dallas' "Diamond Lil'" - Lily Ashley, ruled in 10 girls.
The 11girls class was a tough one, with some hefty names in contention. Results were mixed all over the place this weekend, just to show how tough all of these girls are. Rival's Zoe Dannenberg came out the best, results-wise, but Mudslinger's Violet Popovich, Impact's Preslie Gould, SE-RideCo's Lil Hinton and Full Tilt'er Callie Voight were constantly in the mix and dicin' it out for a podium spot.
11 GIRLS - SATURDAY RESULTS
- 1 ZOE DANNENBERG, RIVAL RACING, WINDSOR, CO
- 2 VIOLET POPOVICH, MUDSLINGER BIKE SHOP, VALPARAISO, IN
- 3 PRESLIE GOULD, IMPACT BMX RACING, HENDERSON, NV
- 4 KENADIE NEELAN, LETHAL/SPEEDCO, BRAINERD, MN
- 5 LILY HINTON, SE/RIDECO, MONUMENT, CO
- 6 EMILEE WELLS, BICYCLE X CHANGE, HAYSVILLE, KS
- 7 CALLIE VOIGT, FULL TILT/RADIO, ST CLOUD, MN
Powerlite's Lola Jonjevic was up to her usual winning ways in 12 Girls, scoring wins the first two days with ease. This girls makes it look easy every time she's on the track.
While it's a blast to watch the intensity of every Expert class, seeing the 16X and 17-20X classes has been the biggest thrill since the dawn of BMX. These guys are in their prime. They're at the top of their game. A few might even be future Pros or Olympians.
In Omaha, both of these classes were fu ll of the "next gen" of older Am superstars. Supecross' Mikkel DeVore - a Spokane BMX local, made the trek since the Lumberjack Nats that were originally scheduled for his home-track, had come down with Covid. DeVore was flyin' all weekend - but so was Rival's Nolan Cardwell.
16 EXPERT - SATURDAY RESULTS
- 1 NOLAN CARDWELL, RIVAL RACING, BELMONT, NC
- 2 MIKKEL DEVORE, SUPERCROSS BMX, SPOKANE, WA
- 3 IAN SCHILLINGER, TRIP9, FREDERICK, CO
- 4 DANTE CASANOVA, SSQUARED DAKOTAS, ABERDEEN, SD
- 5 CLAY (INSANE) MCLEAN, RACEFAST, BAKERSFIELD, CA
- 6 JACKSON EHLERS, LINCOLN, NE
- 7 CARSON (ICEMAN) MALPASS, PUSHER, LITTLETON, CO
- 8 SONNY FRED TOPPER, NO XCUSES, VENTURA, CA
As we'd noted earlier in the story, All Tow Wrecking Crew's Joeseph Leto was in town, with the entire Lindenwood University cycling team in tow. Lindenwood is located in located in St. Charles, Missouri, so it was only a short six hour drive for 'em.
We haven't seen a whole lot of Leto this year, but when he does show up - you can bet that he'll be in contention for the win.
17-20 EXPERT - SATURDAY RESULTS
- 1 JOSEPH LETO, ALLTOW WRECKING CREW/YESS, MYAKKA CITY, FL
- 2 DREW POLK, FACTORY HYPER, AVON, IN
- 3 JORDON BEAUDRY, BLACK WIDOW BMX, OTSEGO, MN
- 4 NOAH BARTON, MUDSLINGER BIKE SHOP, WATERMAN, IL
- 5 BRAYDEN (THE BULLET) KEMPEL, ALPHA, RAMSEY, MN
- 6 CAMERON (WINGDING) WING, FACTORY PICKLE JUICE, ROWLETT, TX
- 7 JORDAN (MOY MOY) MOYER, NOXCUSES/SSQUARED/FLY, VENTURA, CA
- 8 RANDALL PARKS, BAXTER, IA
I know ... chances are that whichever racer I call an Atomic Punk, they're sure to be offended. ...except for one guy I know well enough, to know that he'll take it as a compliment. It'd be a safe bet that he wore out his Van Halen I cassette in his Walkman In his early SE days.
Yes; old school ripper and King of this weekend's 51+X class Bubba Hayes, won't mind at all if I refer to him as an Atomic Punk. Doin' it for his own RideCo team with support still from SE Racing, Hayes dominated in Nebraska and held off Redline's Alfonso Gigantopithicus for the wins.
For those too young to even know what an Atomic Punk is, it's one of the best songs off Van Halen's debut vinyl. Google it - YouTube the video - give it a listen, and your life will never be the same.
LITTLE DREAMER / ON FIRE
Over this re-booted 2020 National series, we've seen quite a few racers you've never heard of before, step up their game. St.Cloud, Minnesota's Thiesen Brothers are two who immediately come to mind as a prime example. They've tripled and doubled at least once at every national they've attended lately - usually not just once, but twice or three times.
In Omaha, the Theisen Bro's were on fire - just like the title of the Van Halen song off their first album. At 8 and 9 years old, you could also think of them as Little Dreamers; who's goal it is to make it on to a Factory team next year ...like Supercross. We're sure that the team offers will be rolling in real soon for these two Pineview Park locals.
8 EXPERT - SATURDAY
- 1 JACOB THEISEN, SAINT CLOUD, MN
- 2 WYATT CHRISTENSEN, BOMBSHELL FACTORY, KINGSTON, WA
- 3 BRADY HAMER, PROLINE CYCLING, MIDLOTHIAN, TX
- 4 HANK SEITZER, BMA/VENOM, NEW PRAGUE, MN
- 5 MICHAEL HOFFMAN, TUCSON BMX, VAIL, AZ
- 6 CHANCE HALL, BOMBSHELL FACTORY, JAVA CENTER, NY
- 7 JOSH EAKINS, BOMBSHELL AVENT, CARBONDALE, CO
- 8 MADDOX SNELL, CYCLE WORKS, LINCOLN, NE
9 EXPERT - SATURDAY
- 1 LUCAS THEISEN, SAINT CLOUD, MN
- 2 COHEN JAMES, FULL TILT/RADIO, BAKERSFIELD, CA
- 3 COOPER TAYLOR, BOMBSHELL FACTORY, COLUMBIA, MO
- 4 CROSBY BACKER, PREMIER RACING, OVILLA, TX
- 5 JAKE MORGAN, BOMBSHELL FACTORY, CANYON LAKE, CA
- 6 DILLAN STEUART, SE/RIDECO, THORTON, CO
- 7 ESPEN WILKE, TRIP9 RACING, OCONOMOWOC, WI
- 8 CULLEN MEURLOT, FORSYTH, IL
If Elite's Jim Nelson had shown up, we'd have a great tie-in with this song off of their 1984 album. But he was a nbo-show. Instead, we'll have to talk abotu the squids and squirells of 36-40X. Throughout the weekend, they put on a show, with plenty of elbow-action and tight-knit racing.
36-40 EXPERT - SATURDAY RESULTS
- 1 ZACHARY BARRON, ZERO MOTO, SAINT PETERS, MO
- 2 CLINT DAILY, MAJESTY RACING, MOORE, OK
- 3 ADAM WELTER, BMA/VENOM, EAGAN, MN
- 4 NICK POST, MINNEOLA, FL
- 5 JACOB BROWN, STOCKTON, CA
- 6 JESSE HAUGEN, VENOM BMA, CEDAR, MN
- 7 KYLE FUNK, WRIGHT CITY, MO
- 8 FRANK EDOMWONYI, ALPHA NATIONAL TEAM, WICHITA, KS
THE CRADLE WILL ROCK
The 5 & Under Novies were out in ful force and had semi's each day in Omaha. That's awalys a great sign of the times, for the future growth of our awesome sport. On Saturday, 5-Nov had 22 riders ...four groups of the future generation of BMX, tearin' it up on their micor-minis! In the end, Mankato's Mathew Dryden scored two of teh three days wins, but 4-year-old Floridian Jayce Reynolds kept him honest and took Saturday's big win. Even though he's FOUR, and even though he's a Novice, Jayce already has support from Bombshell, and probably has one of the trickest rides out there for a BMX newbie. ...not to mention, the personal GoPro footage to go with it.
Bom-ba-dee-da, Bom-ba-dee-da, Bom-ba-dee-da ... as DLR sang on the final cut of Diver Down, this Mid-America Nationals race report could only end one way:
Here's a happy one for you.
Until we meet again.
Happy trails to you,
Keep smiling until then.
Just sing a song, and bring the sunny weather.
Until we meet again."