In Week #10 it would be yet another conflict with either a National or a Gold Cup Qualifying race. This time it was the Stars-N-Stripes National in Virginia where a number of our regulars were in attendance. None-the-less, this was our Race for Life, an annual race that is part of the biggest charity in all of BMX. This race raises money for the National Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and each track in the country dedicates one race each year to this cause. Not only do some of the proceeds go to this charity, but riders are encouraged to raise money as well.
Today, even with the conflict, we enjoyed a rider list that included 109 riders. 20 of them chose to race in Opens as well making our actual entry list 129 and the moto count was 30.
Before we started it was announced that we had a lady racing here today from Denmark. 25 year old Katie Aabye Hansen was in this country visiting family and friends and she certainly left a positive impression on everyone she met. She also presented us with the money she had raised for the fight against Leukemia. It was a whopping $410! What a great effort and we are so grateful.
It was also announced that our own Kayden Smith had also raised some money and he presented us with $60. Well done Kayden. He is 10 years old.
Finally, prior to our dropping the gate and getting underway, we named 15 year old Brandon Daniels as our rider-of-the-week for his efforts last week by earning his 10th Novice win and moving up to the Intermediate class. When asked who his favorite rider is he named his friend Dakota Cortis. When asked how he thought he would do today in his first Intermediate class, he responded that he would probably crash 4 or 5 times. Well that certainly didn’t happen. More on that later.
We started with the Balance Bike groups. The 7 riders were split into two motos with the first being for the 3-5 year olds. “Hot-Rod” Hailey Clough pushed her way to the head of this class in all three rounds of action. Abigail Babcock kept her within site and finished second. Liam Williams and Evangeline Zeiner were in close pursuit.
The second group was a 3-rider shoot-out between two 2-year olds and one 1-year old. This binky patrol saw Ryder Champagne basking in the glory of a first place finish. 1-year old Cole Lyman hung tough with a second while Caleb Froloff decided to sit out the last two rounds. Speculation was a diaper change.
The first point’s class was the 26-30 year old Woman’s Cruiser class. 15-year old Kaylynn Cortis, the current female cruiser point’s leader was in this mix of 4 riders as was the lady from Denmark. In the qualifying rounds Katie Aabye Hansen was the first to qualify. Round two it was Amanda Orlandi making the cut. Round three would come down to Kaylynn Cortis and Stefanie Blackburn racing for that last available spot in the main event. Kaylynn would prevail despite a nice effort from Stefanie. So in the main it appeared that Katie would be the favorite. When the gate dropped it was Amanda Getting the best start and led all the way around. Katie was second with Kaylynn sitting in the third spot as they headed into turn three. Kaylynn tried an inside move in that corner and lost all her momentum. Katie pulled away just a bit from Kaylynn with her sights set on Amanda. Through the rhythm section Katie got along side of Amanda but could not pass her. Amada won the sprint to the line with Katie second and Kaylynn third.
In the 12-year old Cruiser class there were 4 riders going for it. In the qualifying rounds it was Jared Small edging Noah Andersen for the last transfer spot. The main event saw Custom Cycles Andrew Hurst winning it with Jared Small second. The third spot went to Mason Blackburn. Jared had made a great pass down in turn four to get in front of Mason.
One of the largest classes of the day was described as the 41-45 Cruiser class with 7 riders fighting for 6 main event starting positions in the qualifying rounds. When the dust settled, it was the off season for Rabbits as Jeff Orlandi would be the odd man out despite a great try. Southhampton’s Dan Kolodziej simply had it dialed in today and raced to victory. “The Governor” Pat Mcdonnell, sure made him stay on the jammy all the way around and finished a close second. Third went to John Ouellette. Despite a second place finish, Pat McDonnell increased his points lead in the Male Cruiser points chase over Joe Doherty who was off his game today and finished 6th.
The first Novice class was for the 6 year old division and it was again the biggest class of the day with 9 riders split into two groups. Josh Gilbert, who finished second, last week, missed making the main today. In the main it was the same old story again this week with Guy Julian winning for the 7th consecutive time. Ollie Cleary probably cannot wait for Guy to move up as he finished second again this week behind Guy. Guy has one more race here as a 6-year old before he turns 7. It was a solid third place finish for Natalie Kent.
In the 8-year old Novice class Wes Hamel also has quite a streak going. He has raced here 8 times this year and this was his 8th Foothills win. Absolutely uinbeaten this year and is certainly ready to move up. Second place went to Voorhees Hageman while Mike Arnold was third. Dave Woodruff had to watch this one from the sidelines as he just missed qualifying.
The 10-year old Novice class featured 4 riders going for only three main event positions. Derek Linnick just missed qualifying despite a great effort. Isabella Nelson was flying today and she captured a nice win in this main event. Million Blackwood, all the way from Bronx new York, was second while “Mad” Maddy PHilbrick was third.
The 12-year old Novice gang was a five rider group. Through the battle rounds it would be Abigail Montgomery just missing the transfers. Shamus Crane put another one in the win column with a hard fought victory. Clyde Snow, in his first trip here this year enjoyed a solid second with third going to Shyanne Cortis.
The last Novice class was the 36-40 gang and it was 6-riders strong. With Stephen Machnik being the non-qualifyer today, the main event lineup was set. Brian Babcock looked like a sure winner as he had the lead heading into the final turn. “Flyin” Brian was trying to hold off a hard charging Zach Vanwinkle and really got loose. He stayed on his mount but dropped back to fourth. Zach won it it with Tim Brown second and Chris Gombos sneaking into third.
As we move into the Intermediate classes, the first two were 3-rider Total Points races. Both of which had the same winner in all three rounds. The 7- year old class saw Jayden Kent turn in a perfect score with 3 wins. Landon Hansen was solid today with a nice second with Ethan Drobot third.
In the 9-year old class it was Ben Machnik with the perfect sweep of the rounds. “The Undertaker”, Jonah Graves, was second while Blake Babcock would finish third.
5 riders were in the 10-year old Intermediate class and there were some good battles in the qualifying rounds. “Lil Rabbit” Vinny Orlandi would feel the same disappointment that his dad felt earlier as he was the second Orlandi eliminated in qualifying this day. I hope they both basked in the glory of mom and wifes big victory in the 26-30 woman’s cruiser class. Wow, talk about bragging rights! This main event was won by Kayden Smith. He was seen in the ice cream line later on and said it was “really hard out there today”. Well, he made it look somewhat easy. “Hot-Rod” Johnny Tomboly was running really good today with a solid second not far off the pace. Third went to Ryder Vansteenbergin.
The 12-year old Intermediate class proved today wasn’t a small world after all. Nate Small, despite a large effort, missed making the transfer out of the motos. Adin Philbrick, nearly unbeatable since he was picked up by Team Edge, kept it going with a really nice win. Mason Blackburn, also looking exceptionally strong on the 20” today, enjoyed a solid second place finish for his effort. Third went to Jake “The Snake” Nichols.
Travis Cortis looked so disappointed when he missed the cut into the 13-year old Intermediate main event. He put in a really great try but just missed. Another rider who has been unbelievable since donning the Team Edge colors is Connor Nelson. He was unbeatable today and had a big smile as he sped around the final turn to victory. “Leapin” Lou Massoni was second with Mason Vansteenbergin earning a third place finish.
Remember the song “If I ruled the World”? Well the 15 year old Intermediate class was “Rouled”. It belonged to Owen Roule. But second place, the kid that predicted he would crash 4 or 5 times today, went to Brandon Daniels in his first ride as an Intermediate. Well Done Brandon. Zach Cernak grabbed a solid third.
The third Total Points race of the day was for the 19-27 Intermediate grouping. Same as the other two it was a sweep for one rider. This time is was Woll Farrell. Anthony Slowick salvaged second place as he stayed in front of Steve Healy.
The final Intermediate race was for the 46 & over guys. “La Flower” Neil Lafluer” was the rider not given the opportunity to smell the roses as he missed qualifying out of the battle rounds. Kevin Marchildon got the job done as he held off a determined Matt Giroux. Matt settled for second place with third going to Tom Healy.
The 10-year old Girls class only had one 10-year old. Defending Female Track Champion, Marissa Lyman, was the only one in that age bracket and she took advantage with a sweep of this Total Points event. 8-year olds Mary Sloan and Elena Curtis were second and third. With Points leader Pippa Sweet at the National event in Virginia, Marissa now reclaims the top spot on the leader board with a 56 point lead.
The 14-year old Girls class was also a Total Points race and it featured Former Female Track Champion Ashley Jasensky sweeping the field in all three rounds. Kirsten McDonnell was a fairly close second with Autumn Snow finishing third. It’s great to see the Snow family back at foothills.
In Expert action first up was the 9 –year old group of 5 riders. Surprisingly, Shawn Biello was off his game today and missed the cut. “Nasty” Nate Giroux was certainly on his game and he held off a great effort from Noah Andersen for the win. Noah settled into the second spot while Koleton Kolodziej held off Matt Small for third.
The 11 year old Expert class was made up of two 10-year olds and two 11-year olds. “The Z-Man” Zander Hicks was eliminated in the qualifying rounds. The main event saw Kyle McDonnell finish off a great day as this 10-year old held on for a hard fought victory. Jared Small was second with Aiden Biello Third. With defending Track Champion and current points leader Trevor Cooper not here, Aiden still gains 104 points and takes back the top spot with a 24 point lead.
In 13-year old Expert action, there were 4 riders vying for 3 positions in the main event. Kyle Lyman just couldn’t put himself into a transfer position and he was eliminated in the qualifying motos. He put up a great try but age does make a difference and Kyle is only 12. Hunter Zeiner, looked smooth as butter in the qualifying round but spread himself like butter on hot toast when he wrecked in turn one during the main. He would quickly get up and was obviously ok but was now out of any shot for victory. “The Natura;” Baley Levine got the job done with Andrew Hurst a close second. Zeiner was third.
In 17-18 Expert racing it was Gunar Vansteenbergen with a sweep in this Total Points event. Matt Rowe was right there in all three rounds but could not find a way by him and finished second. Alec Roman was third.
The last point class of a fun day was all the Experts ranging from age 20 through age 45 thrown into a group called 28-35. Oh well! Steve “Stone—Cold” Scibelli was odd man out. Mark Pilz pulled of an unbelievable move and got in front of leader Chris Pfeffer for the final sprint to the stripe and victory circle. Chris gave up the chase after that move and John Ouellette sped by him for second place. Chris finished third.
In the four open classes our winners were Blake Babcock in 7-8 Open; Adin Philbrink in 11-12 Open; Hunter Zeiner in 15-16 Open and Well Farrell in 31 & Over. One last note, in the final race of the day. Tim Brown went down really hard on the second straight and laidd there for an agonizing few minutes. He finally did get up and walk it off with some obvious road rash. We hope hes feeling better today?
On behalf of The Litchfield County BMX Group Inc. and USABMX, thank you so much for helping make this day a fun day and supporting the National Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
For the riders and families traveling to the Gold Cup Qualifier in Vermont next Sunday, we wish you safe travels and good luck. To those planning on staying back here and racing Foothills, remember, while the cats away the mice will play. LET’S DO THIS!
So long everyone.
Complete finish report