2021 USA BMX Golden State Nationals Race Report
When we rolled out of Santa Clara Pal BMX in August of 2019 none of us had a clue on the roller coaster of life that the next 20 months would bring. Alas we are back in silicon valley doing what we all love to do. Being so close to San Francisco Bay wind is almost always present and day one was no exception. Headwinds on the first and third straights and tailwinds on the second and fourth made for some exciting racing action.
Getting into our favorite laps of the day we'll start at the 41-45 Cruiser main event. This was an intense 3-way battle between Bay Area Bmxers Cory Mitchell, Bossman Bikes Keith Kester and Alpha's Eric Baca. Mitchell shot out to an early lead and Baca nearly hit the pavement as the group entereted turn one. Mitchell decided to go right and hit the big side of the decision maker as Baca recovered. The duo would hit the step up going into the second turn simultaneously with a good bit of speed, driving the to the top of the turn. Meanwhile Keith Kester was setting up a sweet 2 for 1 high low maneuver. He'd cruiser by both Baca and Mitchell as they hit the rythem section but his lead was short lived as Baca turned on the jets and went from third to first by the final turn. Baca would sieze the win with Kester in tow and Mitchell rounded out the podium in third.
The 15-16 Girls Expert class had the crowd on their feet as Ssquared's Jacy Moore jumped out to and early lead. Half of the field took the big side but eventual winner Manuela Roldan played it smart and took the low side. This allowed her to set up a pefect pass in turn two, cruising by Moore. Supercross' Annabella Hammonds had been looking fast all day long and moved up to the third spot and that how'd they'd finish up for the day.
We'll go all the way to the final lap of the day and the 51 & Over Expert class. Local legend Howard Cato used his vegan power to out horse the group to turn one in true nor cal fashion. Napa Valley Pull's David Moore was in prime position to challenege for the lead but as the group entered turn two Howards Bay Area team mate Michael Romero came in hot on the inside pushing Moore up the turn and breaking his momentum. This allowed Legacy's Greg Webster to set up a pass on both Romero and Moore. As they hit the last turn the sun with the sun beaming right into their eyes, Cato was able to hold on for the home track victory Webster would cross with a second and Moore would finish up in three.
Day two brought more intense main events. Knox Perkins is used to being out front and in the 9 Cruiser class he shot right to the lead. As the pack exited turn 2, Perkins and Wyatt Christensen pumped over the double entering the rythem while Supercross' Ryder Merki laid down a smooth manual. This gave the "Lego Man" Merki a bit of extra speed and allow him to set up a pass for the lead as they entered the final turn. The final finish would go Merki, Perkins and Christensen.
Moving onto 13 Cruiser, Daylight's Brady Oneil got the pop but woul unclip over the step jump going into turn one. Rise BMX's CJ Cariaso siezed the moment and took the lead. Answer's Kaleb McCain would tuck into the two spot for a moment but Oneil would get by after clipping back in and getting back on the gas. Cariaso would hold on for the big win.
We don't often see anyone go from 6th to 1st in a turn but Carl Profit made an awesome swoop in 51 & Over Inter to take the lead. Mark Timm, who was orginally leading would make his own pass in turn to to regain the lead but would gas out once he hit the rythem section. While he held up everyone behind him on the inside Eleazar Flores went from 4th to fighting for the lead with Lynn Anderson. Flores would out power Anderson down the home stretch and Profit would hang on for the third.
The winds were howling by the time the 6x main rolled around but that didn't stop Jet Racing's Easton Garwood from jumping out to an early lead. Hot on his tail was Alpha's Jacob Colwell who would build some major speed in the third straight and make a pass for the lead in the final turn. Garwood would get the tire buzz and fall back to the third spot. BMX Shark's Dylan Myers would get the two.
The 15x class was full of heavy hitters including 4 time world champ Ronnie Kim and Cedric Cade but all eyes would end up on birthday boy Bobby Connelly. Cedric shot out front and looked to be going away with the win but took a peek over his shoulder before hitting turn two. The entertainer would go so wide that many in the crowd thought something was wrong. He'd end up sending himself down to the pavement about 3/4 of the way through the turn. This allowed Rift~Tangent's Connelly to take the lead and never look back. How about that for a birthday present! His team mate andrew Rassi would come in right behind him for the two and Kim would take the third.
Dustin Hammond looked great in 21-25X until his tires broke loose in turn 2. This took out the next four riders and an unsponsored Damian Ontiveros would hit the lotto and get the win. Just Cuz's Cooper Miller would get the two and Dawson OGorman would finish in three.
As the races finished up on day two we spotted former Def Jam recording artist and Oakland legend Richie Rich hanging out in the Bay Area BMXers tent. Rich would do a good deed and sponsor the entries for the entire team for the weekend. Now that's some real Bay Area love.
Day three saw a decrease in wind speed and some change ups in finishes. In 11 Cruiser Eian Gibson was getting it done for Factory Bassett but BMX Sharks newest pickup Kaidan Ireland was applying some serious pressure. The pressure became too much as Gibson's rear tire traction broke loose and he went down. Ireland went on by for the victory, Mason Medley finished up on the duece and Myles Melendez the three.
Hometown hero Benny "the Jet" Sereni got the pop in 17-20 Cruiser and he almost pulled off every kid's dream; to win a national on your home track. Supercross' Mikkel Devore would go through the big side of the 2nd straight and nearly get by the Jet but Benny slammed the door shut in turn two. While Devore decided to shut things down after that SE's Nicolas Trejo began mounting speed behind Sereni. As they hit the stripe at the line Trejo was able to outstretch Sereni and snatch away the 1st place trophy slip.
The 15-16 Girl Expert main delivered some edge of you seat action yet again on Sunday. Birthday girl Ava Corley went down in flames the day prior but that didn't stop her from holeshotting her new class main event. Annabella Hammonds was hot on her tail in turn one a decided to hit the big side of the straight. This allowed Corley to increase her lead over the older group. Breanna Winter put her Rift into the third spot with a nice move in turn number two and thats how they'd finish up for the day.
in the 10x class Hyper's Caleb Durkin had a great 1st straight and led the group with Cohen James, Jorge Montano III and Hyper team mate Kole Berg in tow. Durkin moved a bit wide before the final straight to block James who was coming on strong. This opened the door for Montano III who dove under both of them. It went to a phot finish but Montano III held on for the win by half a wheel.
We ended the day with an apperance of Nor Cal legend and Hall of Famer Terry Tenette who has to be one of the fittest 52 year olds on the planet. All was well untill Mr. T tried to pedal manual over the third jump on the second straight and he slipped both pedals in the process. As Tenette tried to regain his composure Bob Coover would jump right on by with Legacy's Greg Webster in tow. Somehow Tenette was able to maintain a third spot in the malay.
The number one track in California delivered yet another awesome race and ended the longest drought for nationals in California in history. Hats off to the entire Santa Clara Pal crew for providing a pristine track surface for everyone to race and to mother nature for the sunshine.