Finally, after 217 days, most of them with white stuff covering the track, the 2015 season opener was upon us. The typical opening day deluge of new riders and license renewals, coupled with the typical larger than normal crowd, caused us to delay the start by 45 minutes. No one seemed to mind as it was great to re-connect with so many people that we hadn’t seen since last season.
The day featured beautiful weather with temps in the low 70’s under partly cloudy skies.
With 151 riders split into 39 motos, nearly half of the motos were “Total Points” races. (18 motos). As usual the Massachusetts invasion was in full force with 63 Bay State riders in the house. Rhode Island provided 8 riders with New York and New Hampshire adding 1 rider each.
Five Strider riders were split into to groups with the two four year olds; Haley (Comet) Blackburn and Savannah "Lil Wood” Wood showing us how they pound the dirt. In the second group two year old Savannah Grover did battle with three year olds Brandi Wilkinson and Ethan Moulton. No one cared who won as they are just fun to watch. After the races Haley Blackburn was seen riding the track for the first time on a bike with pedals. It won’t be long now.
The first class of the day was the 26-30 Woman’s Cruiser class where the mix of three riders ranged from 13 to well over 39. It was great to see Gina Layman able to finally race after last years injury. Gina aced a “perfect” with wins in all three rounds. Gina complained that she still can’t pull for the gate start but was happy to be back on the track. Kaylynn Cortis was second with Andrea Lucchesi finishing third.
The 10 year old Cruiser class also was for “Total Points”. Rhode Island’s Mason Bruns held off the great efforts of Mason Jacquier and Sam DeGrange. Bruns won all three rounds but it would take the third round to determine Jacquier would edge DeGrange for second place.
The 12 year old Cruiser class was the same deal with only three riders present. Andrew Hurst was able to salvage round three but the overall win went to Kyle Kuehn after winning the first two rounds. Third place went to Mickey Gladu.
The 26-30 year old Cruiser grouping was, in reality, 13-29. After three rounds both Derek Stevens and Chris Therriault would finish with a score of 5. With the third round serving as the tie breaker, Therriault would earn the overall first place finish. Third went to 13 year old Alex Kuehn.
The 31-35 Cruiser class featured a couple of riders not seen at Foothills in quite awhile. Once a top national rider on Bryon Lewis’s BLT’s team, Brennen Struthers retired from racing six years ago. Well, not anymore as he is back. Chris DeAmelio hadn’t retired but hasn’t been down here for some time. Brennen looked like he hadn’t lost much speed, but sure has bulked up since I last saw him. Brennen was perfect with a nice “total Points” win, Chris DeAmelio second and Cliff Benoit third in all three rounds.
In the 46-50 Cruiser class all three riders actually fell into that category. Pat McDonnell and Fred Roy traded wins in the first two rounds with John Buttwell in tow. Round three of this “Total Points” race would determine the overall winner and it was Fred Roy earning the victory. Pat was second with John third.
It would be moto 9 before we finally had a group that had more than three riders. The 5 & Under Novice class had 5 hot-rods vying for some gold. Jaxson Grover took a digger in practice and might have been a little gun-shy during the races. He still tried hard and is only 3 years old. He would miss the transfer into the four rider main event. Kayla Barker raced like a girl and won the Main Event. It was her first main event win and had to make her sponsor, Brian Neff P.E. very happy. Cayden Melillo was second while Ollie Cleary earned a third.
Four riders were grouped in the 6 year old Novice class and it was wonderful to see the Asslin family back in town. Liliana Would be the odd rider out in this shootout but seemed to enjoy herself. Landon Hansen, from Granville Massachusetts, Nailed down the win. New Rider Ben Sharon looked great for a second place finish while Jacob Allen, also a new rider, was third.
In the 7 year old Novice class, Leithen McMillan had little trouble acing a “perfect” in this “Total Points” event. The real battle was for second place between Elena Curtis and Nick Ricupero. Nick finished second in the final round but Elena’s two second place finishes earned her second overall. Big apologies to the Recupero family for our Main event announcer mispronouncing the name.
The largest group of the day was the 8 year old Novice class with 9 riders going for it. Split into two groups, the only rider not making the Main event was a brand new rider Sam Sharon. Sam really tried hard and has the skills to be in the mix. He just needs a little time to hone those skills. We loved watching him and hope he comes back soon. Mac Zdiarski got the job done with a big win. Noah Bell was second with Brady Carlson earning a hard fought third.
Novice-mania continued in the 10 year old bracket and Elizabeth “Sasha” Kulo, all the way from Weston Ct., won the Main event in her first trip to Foothills. Kane McMillan edged Jana Wilkinson for second. Sophia Machnik, from Wales Ma., just missed the transfer.
The last three Novice classes were all “Total Points” and in the 11 year old class, it was Nick Cernak, Shyanne Cortis and Ava Vazzano finishing 1-2-3 in all three rounds.
The 12 year old class saw Kirsten McDonnell, Zackary Cernak and Connor Nelson finishing 1-2-3 in every moto.
The 14 Novice class saw Jacob Walker win every round with Nick Vazzano and Dom Rossi trading second place finishes. In the third round Dom earned second place overall.
With 43 Intermediate riders here today the first group was a three rider shootout in the 6 year old class. Aiden Grover won the first two rounds but lost round three to Riley Hurst. Those first two rounds were good enough for Aiden to earn the top spot for the day. Riley settled for second with Matt Horjatschon third.
With 5 riders racing in the 7 year old Intermediate class, someone would not transfer out of the motos and this time it was Cole Barker, sponsored by Brian Neff P.E., the hard luck rider. Charles Grover made his long ride home to Rhode Island a pleasant one as he probably held his first place trophy all the way. Ben Machnik, from Wales Massachusetts, earned a nice second place award while Evan Moulton, Southampton Massachuesetts third.
Local favorite Owen Annonson struggled in week one and missed making the transfer into the 8 year old Intermediate Main Event. The main event was the closest main event finish of the day. If the track was 1 foot shorter it probably would have been a different order as Noah Anderson edge Brandon Houle at the stripe for the win. Third went to Nate Giroux.
The unpredictability continued in the 10 year old Intermediate class when another favorite missed the cut. This time it was “Hot-Rod” Johnny Tomboly who was forced to watch the Main from the sidelines when Pierce Curtis edged him out for the last transfer spot. The main event win went to Zander Hicks with Ethan Hine and Kayden Smith second and third.
In the 11 year old Intermediate “Total Points” race it was Rylan Carlson winning round one and looking like this could be an easy victory. However, in round two Kyle Lyman earned the win and Rylan was back to third. Kyle secured his overall win with a first in the final round; Rylan had to settle for second overall with third going to Mason Blackburn.
The 6 riders in the 12 year old Intermediate class were all going hard throughout every moto and the Main event. Jorn Layman, just missed the transfer out of the motos despite a great effort. Kai Escobar fought his way to a nice win with Baley Levine a close second. Third place went to J.T. Kelleher, one day after his birthday. Happy Birthday J.T.
In the 13 year old Intermediate class Ashley Asslin missed the cut. A couple of years off take its toll. She will be back to her old self soon. “The Shadow” Austyn Denette, won the main while Ben Babcock and Sean Strate battled for the second spot which eventually went to Babcock.
Cliff Benoit; Abe Hansen and Jen Wood finished 1-2-3 in every round of their 36-40 Intermediate “Total Points” class.
In the 12 year old Girls class, which actually had 9 year old Marissa Lyman and 11 year old Genevieve Asslin in the mix, easily went to our reigning track champion Ashley “Smashley” Jasensky. Genevieve was second with Haley “The Comet” Denette finishing third.
Just like he did in his Cruiser class earlier, Mason Bruns won the 8 year old Expert Main Event. Mason Jacquier was second while Cole Melillo was third after he edged out Robbie Solsbury for the last main event transfer spot.
After Kyle McDonnell could not find a way to make the cut into the hotly contested 10 year old Expert class, Robbie (Spider-Mite) Webb turned the trick and put his #4 machine in the winner’s circle. Garret Cooper was not too dfar behind for second place while third belonged to Sam DeGrange.
Kyle Kuehn finished third in his Cruiser Main but couldn’t make the cut in the 11 year old Expert class. Nick Hibert, riding out of Southwick MA., won the Main event with Mike Bohlke second and Andrew Hurst standing third on the podium.
It was great to see “Butter” Hunter Zeiner back on his bike after taking a couple of years off. Always a front runner he suffered some hard luck in practice as his chain popped in the first turn and he hurt himself a bit. It was obvious he wasn’t himself the rest of the day and he would be odd man out in the 13 year old Expert Main Event. The “Thunder Midget” Alex Kuehn really was fast and unbeatable in this Main. He edged out second place finisher Jagur Layman and third place finisher Matt Webb. Jagur was noticeably much faster than we have ever seen him. Training for two months out west with the legendary Bubba Harris sure has made an effect. Congrats Jagur, you looked awesome!
With Tommy Gladstone and Matt Rowe trading moto wins in the 14 year old Expert “Total Points” race, it would be Tommy winning the tie-breaking third round for the overall win. Matt settled for second ahead of Cole Hathaway.
Jacob Oliver; Dean Zebian and Justin Boissonneault finish 1-2-3 all day long in 15 year old Expert action.
The “Mod-Squad” 16 year old Experts, were out in force with 5 riders going for the 4 Main event starting positions. Anthony Lucchesi was first to qualify with Ethan Begnoche waiting to round two to make the cut. Last in were Scotty Thomson and Justin mark as Dakota Cortis just missed the cut line. In the Main it was Ethan on top with Anthony second and Scotty third.
The 17-18 year old Expert class was a group of real fast riders. Chris Pannullo, former Track champion; Casey Tanner, Chris Therriault and Ryan Judd made up the field. After the motos where Ryan was eliminated the main event went to Cassy Tanner by nipping Pannullo at the stripe. Casey got a little revenge after a little friendly mocking related to Casey’s crash in practice. Therriault finished third.
Moto 37 was the 19-27 year old Exert class and it was low-lited by the scariest moment of the day in the second round when “The Animal” Zack Andringa, making a return to BMX after a number of years off, tangled with Tyler Cortis in turn 4. Both went down hard and, with nowhere to go, Corbin Lavertu piled into a sprawling Cortis. Getting the worst of it was Cortis, who had a nasty road rash on his forehead but would hang tough and finish out the day. Overall it was Andringa, Lavertu and Cortis 1-2-3.
Brennen Struthers knocked off Charlie Grover for the 28-35 Expert title this day while Steve Scibelli was “Stone-Cold” and finished third.
The last Main event of the day was #39 for the 46 & Over Expert class. Stephen Machnik had to watch the four fastest guys race the main from the sidelines as he failed to qualify. Chris DeAmelio, in a rare Foothilld visit, won the main event with Second going to the unretired Fred Roy while third went to Fabiano Garcia.
So week #1 is in the books and we felt it was a great way to kick off the season. Thanks to everyone who came out and a special thank you to the 63 riders from Massachusetts, the 8 riders from Rhode Island and the riders from New Hampshire and New York. To have you guys deem us worthy of your travels make us proud to have you. Free Opens next week, see you there.
Complete finish report