We it was an ok crowd on a beautiful late summer day with 116 entries including those in the strider moto and the six Open motos. 31 motos was today’s lineup.
9 year old Novice rider Jonah Graves, from Worthington, Ma, was named Rider-Of-The-Week in recognition of his first ever win here last week. He was in an 8 rider class so it was something he had to work for. He said that Nate Giroux was his favorite rider.
We started the day off with the three Strider riders and Payton Bardunias, Savannah Grover and Haley Blackburn provided some fun to watch “Sole-Train” action.
The six winners in the Open classes were: Jayden Kent in 6 & Under Mixed; Keegan Oxford in 9-10 Mixed; Kyle Lyman in 11-12 Mixed; Chris Aldo in 15-16 Mixed; Aidan Biello in 9-10 Open and Dean Zebian in the 15-16 Open.
As always we started with the Cruiser classes. Gina Layman, who would normally fall into the 41-45 Woman’s class, found no riders in her age bracket to race so the computer is programmed to put anyone in that situation into a class that groups all female Cruisers together. This means she had to compete with 7 year old Mary Sloan and 14 year old Kaylynn Cortis. At least it’s time on the track I suppose. Officially the order of finish in the Total Points event was Gina, Kaylynn and Mary. We need to start a recruitment campaign to get more ladies racing!
In the 9 year old Cruiser class, 7 year old Alex Marshall, in only his second time here and first time here on a Cruiser, found himself grouped with 9 year olds and had to watch the Main Event from the sidelines in spite of a great effort. Mason Jacquier has gotten so much better since he became a member of the Standard Byke Company’s Northeast Army team and he displayed their colors in the winner’s circle today. At least in this cruiser class. Jared Small nailed down a second place finish while Max Marshall was third.
It was 4 riders going for the win in the 14 year old Cruiser class and again, Cruiser riders are few and far between this year causing age groupings that are just unfortunate. Two 14 year olds, a 10 year old and an 11 year old was this group and Mason Blackburn (11 years old) would not transfer out of the qualifying rounds. Again, the Standard Byke Company Northeast Army colors stood proud in the winner’s circle, this time it was “The Beast”, Dave Albert finishing first. “Jumpin” Jerry Taylor was second with Sam DeGrange our third place finisher.
The biggest Cruiser class of the day was the 41-45 group made up of 6 riders ranging in age from 21 to 49. Traveling all the way from central Long Island New York, Dave Weihs, the oldest rider in this group, just missed making the Main event. John Buttwell, who simply gets faster and smoother every time we see him, earned a hard fought, closely contested victory today. Johnny Ouellette was battling him hard the entire lap but would settle for a close second. Ryan Bogli, last season’s Cruiser track Champion, was third. In the first round Dan Cortis went down really hard in turn #1 and was never a factor after that. We all hope he is ok.
With 17 Novice riders in the house they were split into 4 groups. The first was 5 & Under where two 4 year olds and one 3 year old would compete. Jax Grover would ace a “perfect” with Ryder Duplessie second and Ursa Juodisius third.
The 6 year old Novice class had 5 riders working hard in the “battle rounds” for a shot at a Main event win. Unfortunately Guy Julian had to watch from the sidelines as he missed the cut. Victory was especially sweet for Jayden Kent as today’s win would be his last as a Novice ranked rider. Win #10 ensure that we will see him in the Intermediate class next time out.
Congratulations to this former Rider-Of-The-Week. Oskar Kalnenieks, also a much improved former ROTW, was a solid second with Keira Jacquier third.
In the 9 year old Novice Total Points race, Jonah Graves, after scoring his first win ever last week, came back and did it again this week. “When You Hot, You Hot!” Jesse Forlenzo was second and Dave Weihs was third.
The last Novice class was for the 11 year olds and 6 riders were in the mix for the 5 spots on the Main Event starting grid. Deven Lombard, who shows tremendous desire each week, did not make today’s Main event. Deven’s efforts should be admired as he has not enjoyed wins or even numerous main event qualifying rounds but just keeps trying so hard. His day will come. In the Main event, Nathan Small earned a win even bigger than we realized. According to social media comments last night, this was Nate’s 10th and last win as a Novice rider. A big Congratulations to the Small family and especially Nate. We are proud that Nate’s move-up happened at our track. Shyanne Cortis was second with Jake Nichols third.
The first Intermediate action saw three riders battle in a Total Points event titled “7 Intermediate”. In reality there was one 7 Intermediate; one 6 Intermediate and one 6 Expert. Aiden Grove, the Expert, would ensure all riders would earn Expert points for their efforts. Keegan Oxford made the best of the opportunity as this 7 year old Intermediate not only earned Expert Points, but they were 1st place Expert points! It was a great win for this first-time foothills rider. Aiden was second with Landon Hansen third.
In 8 year old Intermediate action it would be another Total Points race that was dominated by a small rider. Matt Small would nail down a sweep of all three rounds for the win. “Chargin Charlie” Grover was second with the third spot going to Kevin Kelleher.
More Total Points racing happened in the 9 year old class for Intermediates. With Kayden Smith winning round one and Max Marshall the top dog in round two, the final round would determine the overall winner for the day. Kayden came though holding off the efforts of Max to finish 1-2 overall. “Hot-Rod” Johnny Tomboly was third.
One rider would have to be eliminated in the motos for the 12 year old Intermediate class and the odd man out was Tyler Bonney. The sad part is that Tyler had to race these guys and is a Novice rider. With no other 12 year old Novices here, the rules put him in this grouping. We certainly hope Tyler does not get discouraged and stays with it. The Intermediate Points leader is JT Kelleher and he added to his 86 point lead, at least for the moment, with a nice winning effort. Kyle Lyman looked strong also and enjoyed a solid second place finish with third going to Travis Cortis.
Ok, time for the 14 year old Intermediate class. It’s not often we would be talking about a girl in this group but our reigning female track champion, Ashley Jasensky, has been seeking tougher competition, knowing that she needed that to improve her skills to reach the point that she wants to be at. With no other 13 year old girls to race against, rather than get thrown in with younger girls, she elected to jump in with Intermediate boys that are her own age. This class was a Total Points event that would be the most memorable of the day. The first two rounds went to Chris Aldo with Ashley in hot pursuit and Travis Cortis right there in the mix as well. Round three was a different story and would cause the rest of the day to be somewhat melancholy. As they flew down the front straight it was side by side and as they came out of turn one, Ashley had the lead but by not much more then the size of a spoke. The crowd was screaming with encouragement. As they hit the big double half way up the second straight, Ashley got bucked off the bike, went over the handlebars and crashed in a cloud of dust. A gasp went up in the crowd as Ashley lay motionless at the bottom of that double. As track officials ran to her aid, both boys, Chris Aldo and Travis Cortis stopped and rode over to be beside Ashley. The crowd was nearly silent as Officials were at the scene, two of which are medical personnel. For about 4 agonizing minutes the crowd gathered at the top of the starting hill and against the fence in hopes of seeing something positive from the scene on the track. Finally, Ashley was able to sit up although holding her wrist. The two fellow racers, in a heartwarming display of sportsmanship and respect for the efforts of Ashley racing against them, refused to finish the race until they knew Ashley would be ok. Finally she was helped to her feet as the crowd erupted in applause. Not until she walked to the finish line did the two boys ride out the race. For the record Chris Aldo was the overall winner with Travis Cortis second. But, at least in my opinion, all who witnessed the actions of two riders on the track today, fully understanding that winning may not always be the most important thing and that respect and concern for a fellow competitor, just may have taught us all something. I have been around BMX Racing for 33 years and have seen a ton of heartwarming and heartbreaking scenes. Yesterday will join so many memorable moments in my mind. Ashley’s season is now over. Her dream of a top Regional finish was dashed in an instant. But what she showed us yesterday regarding her desire to improve, push herself to the top of her ability level and then the toughness when disaster struck, was something to behold. Ashley has broken her wrist in two places. We wish her a speedy recovery and thank her, for representing what “Riding Like a Girl” is all about.
When we got back to the action the demeanor of the crowd was totally different. The next group was the 16 year old Intermediate class and Kyly Milton, the only Girl in the mix, did not qualify for the Main event. Justin mark grabbed the lead early on and never looked back. He would lead all the way around holding of the hard-charging Jake Layman and Dakota Cortis.
The 28-35 Intermediate class was a mix of ages, genders and proficiency levels. There was a Novice, a Girl and 2 Intermediates in the mix. Kathryn Mack was the one rider eliminated in the motos. The main event saw Norm Gauvin take to prisoners and nail the win. Ryan Rappa was second and Abe Hansen was third.
Next up was the Total Points shoot-out for the 46 & Over Intermediates. With one rider (John Ouellette) being and Expert, both Craig Begnoche and Clayton Marshall would earn Expert points. As expected, John won the class overall with a win in two of the three motos. Craig Begnoche was second with Clayton third. With Craig earning those Expert points, he cuts 29 points off of JT Kelleher’s lead in the Intermediates points’ chase. JT now leads by a mere 57 points.
There were only two Girls classes today and the first was for 7 year olds. As has happened so many times before, Kyrie Coddington-Sweet, at only 5 years old, had no one to race and was inserted into this mix. Two years age difference for a rider this young makes such a difference. Kyrie did not qualify. In the Main event it was Mary Sloan winning her first Foothills race for the 2015 season in a nice effort. Pippa Sweet settled for second this day with Saule Juodisius third.
In 10 year old Girls racing this Total Points race saw Marissa Lyman all but sew up the female track championship with today’s overall win. Marissa won two of the three rounds with Azra Milton, winning one round for second overall and Anislee Bardunias finishing third.
In the 9 year old Expert class it looked like Jared Small might be odd man out. Maybe Shawn Biello felt the same way as it appeared that Shawn backed off a bit down in turn #3 in the last qualifying round and Jared passed him for the last spot. Trevor Cooper, soon to be a repeat Track Champion won this one with second going to Fisher Stites. Jared Small finished third. It looked like Mason Jacquier was the rider to beat as he had the lead up the second straight. He would shut down just before turn #2 with a broken crank arm.
Sam DeGrange would sweep all three rounds in the 10 year old Expert Total Points race. Aidan Biello was second with third going to Garret Cooper.
It was another Total Points race in the 12 year old Expert class and another seep of the motos would determine our winner. This time it was Fin Milton turning the deed. Kai Escobar was second with Baley Levine third.
In the 14 year old Expert class Jerry Taylor missed the cut for the first time since week #2. Dave Albert, got the job done with Matt Rowe a fairly close second. Jagur Layman was third.
The “Mod-Squad”, 16 year old Experts, saw Ethen Begnoche win this Total Points event. “The Machine” Dean Zebian (Captaindudebro) was second while finishing third was Ethan Escobar.
Finally the last main event was held and it was 36-40 year olds in a Total Points race event. Charlie Grover and “Stone-Cold” Steve Scibelli really battled hard but Stone-Cold could never find a way around Grover. Charlie put a “perfect” in the record book with Scibelli second and Zach (Rip) VanWinkle third.
Remember no racing next sunday as the Connecticut State Championship race is nest Sunday. We'll be back in two weeks for Double Distrct and Double track points. See you then.
Complete finish report