So after a very early spring and many sunny days, our opening day felt more like March 1st rather than May 1st. It was raining lightly all through the early morning but people were already showing up. At the start of practice the rain actually stopped and the asphalt turns were dry and the clay was tightly packed and ready to race. Knowing rain was forecasted for all day, we opted to employ the USABMX two-moto transfer system.
With the usual high number of renewals and new memberships, the usual hectic atmosphere was present at the Registration window but our wonderful clerk kept things positive and focused. At gate drop (at 12:14 pm) there were 92 riders spread through 24 motos. Of course that is about the same time that the rain returned and the temperature struggled to hit 45!
At any rate we had a nice supply of Balance Bike riders (Formerly called Striders) with 7 riders split into two motos. The first group featured four riders aged 3 and 4. Mason Murphy, a little 3 year old from Southington Ct., showed us he will be a force to contend with wherever he goes. He was uncatchable. Hailey “Hot-Rod” Clough was also very fast with an impressive effort from Brandi Wilkinson and Saraphina Sperrazza.
In the next group there were three riders going for the glory. All three were only 1 years old. One impressive thought was that exactly 1 year ago, Heidi Barker was carrying her yet to be born baby under maternity clothes and now he was out on the track racing! These “Binky Bombers” were fun to watch with Braxton Murphy the top rug-rat this day. Cole Lyman and Logan Barker all had fun also.
The first of the point classes was the 4 riders going for the three transfer positions and a spot in the 3 rider main event for the 12 year old Cruiser class. Mason Jacquier had no problem qualifying out of round one with Andrew Hurst and Jared Small joining him from round two. Mason Blackburn just missed qualifying. Mason won the Main event with Andrew Hurst second and Jared Small third.
The first Total Points race would be moto 4 for the 15 year old cruiser gang. “The Beast” Dave Albert, made it look easy by winning round one. For sure he had a perfect in his sights. Jacob Bacis and Cole Hathaway would finish second and third. But in rounds two and three, Albert failed to show up in the gate. That left Bacis and Hathaway to battle it out for the overall win. Bacis would prevail.
The main event for the 41-45 Cruiser class was wild as four riders survived the motos with Lou Cianfarani being odd man out. In the main it was “The Governor” Pat McDonnell leading the pack out of turn two. Johnny Buttwell saw a slight opening on the inside up the third straight and slipped into the lead and then never looked back. He would win it with McDonnell second and Joe Doherty holding off Josh Perrier for third.
In 5 & under Novice action it was another Total Points racing situation. Hayley Blackburn must have thought she was seeing double as two brand new riders were next to her in the gate. Natalie and Brianna Kent, twin sisters, were making their racing debut. Natalie would win a three rounds for a “perfect” with Brianna second and Hayley third.
The 6 year old Novice class had 5 riders registered. During qualifying, Willow Hicks had just missed making the cut. With Jax Gietek and Guy Jullian qualifying out of the first round, speculation was that these would be the two battling for the main event win. However, in the main it was Gietek showing the way with a full-pull from start to finish. Ollie Cleary, sporting that State #3 number plate was able to stay in front of Julian for the second spot. It was still a nice third place finish for Guy.
The 8 year old Novice class featured something I have never seen in my 33 years of being around BMX racing. This was a Total Points race with Wes Hamel, Kevin Baker and Dave Woodruff all going for some wins. In round one it was Hamel, Baker and Woodruff finishing 1-2-3. In round two the amazing happened. Hamel had the lead going into turn one when he fell. He quickly got up and caught Baker and Woodruff in turn two. Splat! He went down again. Getting up again he jumped back on his mount and set sail for the disappearing pack in front of him. He was flying and by the time they headed into turn 5 he had the lead and won again! I have never seen a rider fall twice in the same moto and end up winning it! It was the same results in round three for a “perfect” score for Wes Hamel in an imperfect day of racing. WELL DONE!
Next up was the 11 year old Novice group with 5 riders ready to rock and roll. Isabella drew some tough duty as she was one of two 10 year olds battling with three 112 year olds. She missed the transfer despite a great effort. Shamus Crane, racing 13 times at Foothills last year and never finishing first proved that things might be a lot different this year.
Challenged hard all the way around by Jake “The Snake” Nichols, Shamus stayed on the jammie and hit that elusive finish line first. Finally he put it all together. WELL DONE ! It must be “hair-power”. Jake was solid for second place while “The Outlaw” Jesse Forlenzo was third.
Ron Carver had no difficulty in scoring a perfect in the Total Points 36-40 year old Novice class. He was carving turns on the slick corners like a figure skater. Shaun Byrne and Stefanie Blackburn fought fiercely for the second spot with Shaun just edging her out for the bridesmaid spot.
In Intermediate action, first up was the 8 year old group of 4 riders. After the two qualifying rounds, Jayden Kent missed qualifying for the main event. Matt Small had it all as he aced a nice win. Cole Barker, sponsored by Racing Products this season was second with RJ REale finishing third.
In 10 year old Intermediate competition it was Andrew Macconnie getting the job done with an impressive second effort. “Hot_Rod” Johnny Tombolly had the lead from the start to the back straight with R.J. Reale running second and Andrew Macconnie in third. Then Macconnie seemed to shift into high gear as he found a way around Reale and set his sights on Tomboly. Into turn 4 they went and here comes Macconnie! As they were about to enter turn 5, Macconnie powered his way around Tomboly completing the “Outhouse to the Penthouse” move. Tomboly was second and R.J. Reale was third. Tombolly has a beautifully painted bike all decked out in Red-White and blue. He is searching for Veterans to sign his machine with a goal of 1,000 signatures. What a nice thing to do.
The 12 year old Intermediate class featured the last race for last year’s Intermediate class champion J.T. Kelleher. The last race as a 12 year old that is. JT would suffer the dreaded “Birthday” tomorrow putting him up into the next age group. He certainly took advantage of this day as he powered his way to a nice win in this 3 ride rmain event. Nathan Small, despite a great try, missed qualifying and became odd man out. Kyle Lyman and Mason Blackburn would finish second and third.
The 13 year old Intermediate class was a mix between 2 girls and 3 boys. Kirsten McDonnell would be eliminated in the qualifying rounds but Ashley Jasensky made the cut. In the main event it was Owen Roule "The Rookie" turning the dirty deed dirt cheap with the win. Lou Massoni was second while Connor Nelson grabbed the third spot.
Another 5 riders were registered in the 15 year old Intermediate class. It was a tough draw for one 15 year old as Maya Brown, a Novice rider, was put into this group of boys. She looked like she was trying really hard but she is a new rider in her first race here and was simply over matched. We certainly hope she sticks with it as she does have skills. Jacob Stephens, one of Whip City’s stars took the win. Tim Baker was second and third went to Ben Babcock.
The 19 – 27 Intermediate group was only three riders forcing a Total Points situation. Mark Pilz, making his first trip here from Saugerities New York, won the first two rounds. Even with a second place finish in round three behind Justin Mark, he had enough points for the overall win. Mark was second with Will Farrell third.
The 10 year old Girls class had two 10 year olds and two 8 year olds in the mix. Elena “L’il Ripper” Curtis, would be the rider not making the cut. Elena is 8 years old and is a known force when racing in her own class. She will be Ok. Reigning Female Track Champion Marissa Lyman won the main event with 8 year old Mary Sloan second and Samantha Sperrazza third.
It was the same order of finish in all three rounds of Total Points racing for the 9 year old Expert class. Mason Jacquier was first, Shawn Biello was second with Noah Andersen third.
The 10 year old Expert class featured the presence of two-time Male Track champion Trevor Cooper. Trev certainly raced like the cream of the crop as he wa the first to qualify then was first in the main event. Jared small was not that far behind him and scored a second place finish. Third went to Kyle McDonnell. Zach Tuohy just missed the cut this day.
In 11 year old Expert action it was Garrett Cooper repeating what his little brother Trevor had just accomplished with a main event win. Could this be a repeat of the 2014 season when both Cooper boys were battling for the championship right down to the final race? Aidan Biello looked really good and his efforts were rewarded with a second place finish. The “Z-Man” Zander Hicks was third. Dylan Barker was really in the mix but tried a nearly impossible move in turn three going for the lead and it cost him. He would go down hard on the asphalt and was in obvious pain as he walked off the track. It was reported later that he was just fine.
Andrew Hurst was the dominant rider in the 13 year old Expert Total Points class with two out of three wins. Kai Escobar had to settle for second while Baley Levine was third.
The “Mod-Squad”, 16 year old Experts, was a 4 rider group. After the qualifying rounds it was Josh Perrier being eliminated. Dean “The Machine” Zebian, got the best of the other two riders in the main event. 15 year old Dave “The Beast” Albert was second with 14 year old Jacob Bacis third.
The last two groups were racing for Total Points and it would be two “perfects” put into the record books. Brennan Struthers nailed one down in the 28 – 35 Expert group keeping Corbin Lavertu and “Stone-Cold” Steve Scibelli behind his and Zach Gietek turned the trick in the 41-45 Expert class. That last class was truly a “blast from the past” with three riders wearing DDR Racing jerseys and none racing locally in the last 20 plus years. Brent Rideout and Joe Doherty rounded out that class. All were familiar names in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s here in Connecticut. DDR Racing was a local team that was very popular.
So that’s it for this week. Thanks to everyone for braving the adverse weather conditions. It appeared that most everyone had a great time. See you next week and hopefully, under better conditions.
Complete finish report