So we finally get a race day that will be rain free and maybe we can get a decent moto count. Oh Wait; There is a Massachusetts State Qualifier in Billerica and a Gold Cup Qualifier down in Egg Harbor Township New Jersey. Knowing that usually nearly 50% of our riders come from the Bay State, this will probably be another low rider count. Doing a quick scan of the moto sheets, only 9 entries were here from Massachusetts. There were 3 more from New York and another 2 down from Vermont. So what was the entry count? Well, including 1 Balance bike moto and 7 Open motos, the moto count was 26 with a total of 98 entries. Not bad by 2016 standards I guess but we keep hoping for more.
With an on time start we began by naming Jesse “The Outlaw” Forlenzo as our Rider-Of-The-Week after his big win last Sunday. This 10 year old Novice from Redding Ct., was pretty cool to interview. After naming Bethel Supercross as his home track and a little coaxing, he named Matt Dallas as his favorite rider.
The first moto, as always, was the Balance Bike Binky Squad. It was 2 one-year old riders; I two-year old and 1 three-year old. Logan Moriarty, looking almost as fast as his dad Jason was so many years ago, easily became the leader of the pack in every round. Cole Lyman, Ruby Kalnenieks and Logan Barker all pushed their way to the finish line basking in the glory to the yells of the cheering fans.
In the Open Classes, Oskar Kalnenieks won the 6 & Under group; Mary Sloan won the 7-8 Mixed Open; Jacques Roy was top-dog in the 11-12 Mixed Open; Ke-Andre Godbolt grabbed the main in 13-14 Mixed Open; Cole Melillo was the champ in the 9-10 Open; Robbie Weeb was perfect in the 11-12 Open and Ethan Begnoche did the same in the 17-20 Open.
In the first of the point classes it was Joe Doherty holding off Craig Begnoche for the 26-30 Cruiser Main Event win. Craig was right on him the entire lap but could not find a way to pass. Third went to 12 year old Mason Blackburn while, despite a great effort, 8 year old Mary Sloan missed the cut. (I know, the class said 26-30 but the rules of combining made it 8-45.)
In 5 & Under Novice action, 6 riders battled hard in the qualifying rounds for those 5 starting spots in the Main Event. Hayley Blackburn, who was racing Balance Bikes last season, just missed making the transfer into the Main. Logan Moriarty, in only his third trip ever to Foothills, made it look easy as he blasted out of the gate and never looked back. (It helps when your dad was once a top BMXer). Second place went to Natalie Kent in a very impressive effort. Third place was her twin sister Brianna Kent. Brianna showed how tough she is in coming back from a nasty 1st round crash.
The first Total Points class was the 6 year old Novice group. Guy Julian would not only win his first ever foothills first place award but he did it in style acing a “Perfect”! second went to Kayla Barker (Creative Racing Products) while Oskar Kalnenieks would finish third.
The 8 year old Novice Main event was one of the craziest to run on this day. Dave Woodruff, despite a valiant effort, would be the one rider eliminated in the qualifying motos. If he watched from the sidelines he saw a heart breaker. Ernie Nieman had the lead going into turn two when he went down on the asphalt pretty hard, Riley Richardson, after traveling all the way here from Vermont, looked like a shoe-in for the win now with a sizable lead racing up the third straight. As he went into turn three he literally exploded in a massive self destruction heap. Mike Schaller, simply minding his own business, suddenly found himself looking at an empty track in front of him and he cruised his way to victory lane. Ernie was second while Riley settled for third. For everyone except Mike, this was one to forget.
The 9 year old Novice class was a Total Points race and it would be made up of 1 12-year old and 2 10 year olds. 10 year old Jesse Forlenzo managed a win in the first round but I guess that would serve as a wake-up call for 12 year old Jack Vanhorn as he came back to win the next two rounds for the overall win. Third overall went to Isabella Nelson.
The 36-40 year old Novice class had 4-riders going for 3 Main Event positions. Stefanie Blackburn tried very hard but could not catch the guys and missed the cut. In the Main, Zach Vanwinkle was able to hold off Abe Hansen for the win. Behind Abe would be Tom Thibault, who hadn’t raced here in four years and finished third.
Moving into the Intermediate classes, the first up was the 4-rider 8 year old grouping. Even though two of these riders were 7 years old it would be one of them who stole the show. Jayden Kent was unbeatable this day and was able to hold off second place finisher Cole Barker (Creative Racing Products). Third went to Rocky McMillan. Landon Hansen tried really hard but just missed getting the last transfer spot in the qualifying rounds.
The 10 year old Intermediate class was another grouping that was a combination of ages 9 and 10 year old battling for 5 Main event spots.
Throughout the “Battle-Rounds” Brady Carlson was pushing hard but this 9 year old just couldn’t get himself into a transfer position and would miss making the Main. In the Main, Aiden Drenen, who only raced here twice last season, was on fire with an impressive win in this 5-rider Main Event. Track Champion Marissa Lyman was second while third went to “Hot-Rod” Johnny Tomboly.
The 12 year old Intermediate 4-rider group had one 11 year old rider in it. With no other 11 year old Intermediates registered, Jacques Roy was forced to race the older riders and despite a great try, could not qualify. Kyle Lyman, so much improved this year, put his first Foothills win in the record books. Mason Blackburn was a pretty close second while Rylan Carlson salvaged a third.
It was another mixed group of ages and proficiencies in the 13 year old Intermediate class. With four 13 year old Intermediates grouped with one 13 year old Novice and one 13 year old Girl who knew what to expect? The 13 year old Novice rider was Ryan Suleski (Apologies from this announcer for mispronouncing his name most of the day) and he would miss the cut. Connor Nelson would also get his forst Foothills win of the 2016 season with an impressive effort. J.T. Kelleher played the second fiddle today while third was earned by Mason Vansteenbergen.
The 15 year old Intermediate class was a 3-rider Total Points race. It would be the same order of finish in all three rounds; Kai Escobar was first; Ke-Andre Godbolt second and Maya brown third. With Kai being the only expert, Ke-Andre (Intermediate) will earn Expert points while Maya (Novice) earns Intermediate points.
IN the 8 year old Girls Total Points race it would be two 8 year olds and one 6 year old. The 6 year old was Kyrie Coddington-Sweet and she would settle for a third place finish in all three rounds. It’s amazing how this NAG 10 rider just keeps smiling week after week after she continually is grouped with older Girls. Her big sister may be the reason. Pippa Sweet was in the same boat last week when she was grouped with two older girls. This week Pippa was paired with Mary Sloan, also 8 years old. Pippa would prevail with Mary second and Kyrie third.
The 9 year old Expert division was a Total Points shootout and it was exactly that with a different finishing order in all three rounds! Round one saw Cole Melillo finishing in the top spot. In round two it was Shawn Biello with Cole finishing third behind Noah Andersen. The final round Shawn won again with Cole second giving Shawn the overall win by 2 points. Cole salvage second with Noah settling for third. All races were pretty close.
So shawn Biello came out on top in the previous grouping but brother Aidan would have it tougher in the 11 year old Expert class. With National Rider Robbie Webb in the house, that was pretty much a guaranteed top finish for the “Spider-Mite”. Also in the group was our 2-time track champion Trevor Cooper. Anyway, Aidan just missed making the transfer and he became the one rider eliminated in the motos. The 4 rider Main Event was won by Webb (Blotout Graphics). Garret Cooper was second with the third spot going to Trevor Cooper. You know the competition was tough when it took our track champion 3 rounds of motos just to qualify. He was the only 10 year old in the mix.
In the 17-18 year old Expert class, it was one 15 year old that missed the cut. Devin Carty certainly drew a tough challenge having to race three of the fastest riders in the Northeast. All three pretty much should be considered National Rider caliber. Out of the team Edges racing camp, Ethan Begnoche would be today’s top gun. Second would go to TNT’s Scotty Thomson while third went to Anthony Lucchesi.
In 19-27 Expert action there was an issue with the matching as Chris Pannullo ended up on the moto sheets (Just there for practice) creating a DNS for him while Mark Pilz and Josh Sanford were left to battle each other in a 2-rider shootout. Josh won the first two rounds of this Total Points event. In round three, Mark withdrew from the comp leaving Josh to ride the track solo for a win. Josh rode the entire lap with a flat tire.
We finished up with the 41-45 Expert class where this one featured the return of one of the most impressive local riders to ever race at Foothills. As a 12 year old Expert, this 29 year old won our track championship. (1999). As a 15 and 16 year old, he won the State’s trophy dash for Foothills. (2002 & 2003). Last week he became engaged to a beautiful girl and yesterday he won our Main event. The “Marvelous One” Matt Markie is back and looked like he never left. He held off second place finisher Joe Doherty while Craig Begnoche was third.
On a side note, I just heard this morning that Leith McMillan was hurt during the Side-Hack racing demo that we held during intermission. He was paired up with Ethan Begnoche and they turned in the fastest lap with a time of 1.3 minutes! But down in turn #3 (I think), Leithen’s foot scraped the asphalt and he “knicked” his Achilles tendon. In spite of a painful visit to the hospital, Leithen is doing well at home. We are all wishing him a speedy and complete recovery.
Complete finish report