In week #5 the closest Gold-Cup Qualifier is in Delaware so maybe, for the first time this year, we have no significant competition that would draw from a decent rider count. With racing almost a tradition on Memorial Day weekend we hoped for the best and pretty much got it. Including three Open motos the rider entry list was 128 strong! We enjoyed 43 entries from Massachusetts, 12 from New York, 7 from Rhode Island and 1 each from New Hampshire and Vermont. Add another 63 from our own state and it certainly was a nice gang of riders. They were split into 32 motos and the racing was about as hot as the weather. With the temperature flirting with the 90 degree level and some humidity, this would be a physical drain on everyone.
After a moving opening with the playing of Taps as Johnny Tomboly rode his Veterans Memorial bike slowly around the track and everyone remaining standing as Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The USA” was played we were ready to race.
Wes Hamel, our 8 year old Novice phenom, was named Rider-Of-The-Week for his big win last Sunday. He could not come up with anyone as his favorite rider nor would he make a prediction regarding his performance today. This little Terryville rider is just enjoying his early BMX career success.
As racing began the Balance Bike crew started the day off with a couple of motos worth in action. In moto one 3 year olds Mason Murphy and Liam Williams worked their way around the course with little problems.
It was a little different in the 3-rider second moto as 1 year olds Braxton Murphy and Cole Lyman seemed more content not climbing on their mounts but Ruby Kalnenieks showed them how it’s done.
The first Points class was the 4-rider 12 year old Cruiser division. It was actually made up of two 12 year olds, one 10 year old and one 8 year old Girl Cruiser. Mary Sloan would be the hard luck rider in this one as she missed the transfer out of the qualifying rounds. The main event went to Andrew Hurst, while Jared Small hung tough for second. Third went to Mason Blackburn.
In what the computer called 41 – 45 Cruiser class, the ages ranged from 14 to 51 and was 6 riders strong. After the qualifying rounds, 14 year old Kaylynn Cortiss was cut from the group despite a very hard try. “The Governer” 47 year old Pat McDonnell, held off 43 year old Dan Koloziej for the main event win. Dan settled for second place with Josh Perrier third.
It was a big turnout in the 5 & Under Novice class with 7 riders vying for those 6 spots in the Main event starting grid. Savannah Grover, in round one, hit the first jump at the bottom of the starting hill and lost control of her bike. She veered to the left and down the side of the big jumped this wide-eyed 3 year old would speed. She went across the second straight and tipped over in the grass between the second and third straights. She would be ok but really shaken up and pretty much had enough of BMX for this day. That gave a free pass to the main event for the other 6 racers and it was Natalie Kent holding off the entire pack of rug-rats for a very impressive win. Jaxson Grover, looking for one more win to move up, settled for the bridesmaid spot again this week. Third went to Devin Porier.
In the 6 year old Novice group it was Elaina Byrne just missing the qualifying for the main as fellow New Yorker, Jack Ellsworth,was able to hold her off in the last round. In the 3-rider main Jack would crash leaving Guy Julian to enjoy his second win of the season. Oskar Kalnenieks was second.
The first Total Points race was the 7 year old Novice gang. Brady Ronaldson, making his 2016 debut here, aced a “perfect” by winning all three rounds of motos. Tom Berg was second in only his second time here while third went to Liliana Asselin.
Deanna Ellsworth would fall in round 1 of the 8 year old Novice class and that was it for her. In the 4-rider main, Wes Hamel kept his winning streak alive with his 4th win of the season. Dave Woodruff, from Torrington, looked good and placed second while third was earned by Mike Arnold.
It was a free pass for the 3 riders left in the 9 year old Novice class as Lucas Holda wrecked hard in practice and did not come out for any of the motos. “The Undertaker” Jonah Graves was unstoppable as he cruised to victory. Derek Linnick was second and Ian Asselin was third.
The 10 year old Novice class would compete in a Total Points event and it would be the same order of finish in all three rounds. Jesse Forlenzo, Isabella Nelson and Owen Bower 1-2-3.
In the 12 year old Novice class, that was also a Total Points race but there were only two riders going for it on the track. Rumor was that Jack Van Horn left the facility with an unknown injury. Shamus Crane held off Shyanne Cortis for his second win of the season.
The 36 – 40 4-rider Novice class looked more like the Legion of Doom! After Zach Vanwinkle and Mike Stamberg qualified out of the first two rounds, round three was a shootout between Abe Hansen and Shaun Byrne for the last transfer spot. Up the second straight Shaun had the lead and then suddenly veered left right into the concrete blocks! He was fine but had to walk back up the track to retrieve his bikes crank arm. We quickly learned why he crashed. Abe cruised to the last transfer spot. In the main Hansen went down in flames leaving Zach Vanwinkle and Mike Strandberg to finish 1-2.
In the 3-rider 7 year old Intermediate class, Jayden Kent and Nash Byrne traded moto wins in the first two rounds. The tie-breaking round three went to Jayden as did the overall win. Nash was second and Landen Hansen was third.
Next up was the 10 year old Intermediate class and there were 5 riders going for some Memorial Day glory. “The Crusher’ Gary Winters was eliminated in the battle rounds. Kayden Smith made his second trip to Foothills a good one as he nailed down a nice win in the 4 rider Main event. Brandon Houle was second after having to wait till the last round to transfer due to a number of reasons. Third went to Kevin Kelleher.
Something special happened in the 12 year old Intermediate class. It was a good size group with 6 evenly matched riders going for it. “Fierce Pierce” Curtis, the only 11 year old in this mix, missed the cut but certainly gave it a good try. Pierce is recovering from strep and was visible drained from the meds on such a hot day. In the main Kyle Lyman took the lead and was challenged all the way around by Mason Blackburn. As he headed down the short-chute to the finish line, this was his last ride as an Intermediate. Kyle Lyman became the newest Expert in the country as he crossed the stripe. Mason was second and Adin Philbrick was third. Congratulations Kyle.
Travis Cortis put on some impressive passing moves to win all three rounds of the 13 year old Intermediate Total Points race. JT Kelleher and Connor Nelson finished second and third each time out.
Maya Brown was eliminated in the qualifying rounds in the 15 year old Intermediate class. She was the only Novice racing and fell pretty hard in round three. Maya always tries so hard and it was tough to see her day end as it did. The Main win went to Jacob Stephens. Owen Roule, one colorful rider, literally, was second while finishing third was Ashley Asselin.
Justin Mark, who was rumored to have fallen hard at the race in Delaware Saturday, showed no ill effects today as he won all three rounds in the 19-27 Intermediate Total Points race. The Cortis brothers, Dakota and Dan, would finish second and third.
The last Intermediate class was the 46 & Over group. This would be a Total Points event also and 28 year old Ron Carver held off a determined 51 year old Craig Begnoche for today’s win. Matt Giroux was third.
In the 8 year old Girls class, 6 year old Kyrie Coddington-Sweet was again at a disadvantage having to race the older girls. Her sister Pippa, would be the first to transfer out of this 4-rider group. Mary Sloan transferred out of round two leaving Kyrie and Elena “Lil Ripper” Curtis to battle it out. But at the gate for the third round, Elena did not make it and had withdrawn due to illness. She is also suffering for strep, on meds and combined with the nearly unbearable heat, chose to sit it out. Kyrie had the free pass. Pippa would win the main with Mary second and Kyrie third. It’s been a tough week for the Curtis family and we all wish them a speedy recovery with all issues.
In the 12 year old Girls Total Points race Genevieve Asselin won two of the three rounds which were good enough to finish first overall. Marissa Lyman won round three but it was too little too late and she would settle for second place overall. Anislee Bardunias was third.
In 13 year old Girls action, it was another of those 3-rider Total Points races. Ashley Thacker, the only Novice in the mix, tried hard but could not find a way around the other two riders and would finish third. Former Track Champion Ashley Jasensky held off the efforts of Kirsten McDonnell for the overall win and a “perfect”.
In the 8 year old Expert class, it looked like “Chargin” Charlie Grover might score a “perfect” in this Total Points race after he scored a first in round one. But Charlie would finish third in the next two rounds as Aiden Grover and Matt Small waged war between the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Baystater Matt Small won the final two rounds to capture today’s overall win with Aiden second.
In 9 year old Expert action Shawn Biello looked like he was really feeling the heat as he seemed to kind of run out of gas in the battle rounds. He would miss the cut today. Nate Giroux was top gun today with Koleton Kolodziej and Noah Andersen second and third. Noah is still trying to recover from some sort of illness that been nagging him for a few weeks now. That kids got game!
The 10 year old Expert class saw Fisher Stites miss qualifying despite a great effort. 2-time track champion Trevor Cooper nailed the win to maintain his points lead towards a third track title. Jared Small was second and third went to Kyle McDonnell.
It was Total Points in the 12 year old Expert class and this class was owned by Andrew Hurst as he aced a “perfect”. Aidan Biello was second and Garret Cooper was third overall after being a no-show in some of the rounds. Not sure why as he was only one point behind his brother in the season long points chase.
The 15 year old Expert class was really a 4-rider mixed bag. Matt Rowe was the only 15 year old Expert and he got the job done. Hannah Blanquart had the lead for awhile but fell back to the second spot hold off Kai Escobar by inches. Kai was third.
The 19-27 Expert class was exciting with a rare appearance of Jacob Oliver from New Hampshire. Jake is Nag 14 and definitely in a class by himself whether it’s BMX, Freestyle, snowboards etc. Jake, sporting his rockstar colors, forced everyone to ride hard this day. He won the main with Dean Zebian second and Shawn Mark third. Shawn would later say he hasn’t gone that hard in years! Tyler Cortis just missed making the cut.
In the 28-35 Expert shootout it would be “Stone Cold” Steve Scibelli just missing the cut as John Ouellette held him off down the final straight for the last transfer spot. In the Main it was Charlie Grover leading coast to coast for the win. Norm Gaulvin was second and John Ouellette third.
The three winners in the Open classes were Mary Sloan in 7-8 Open, Fisher Stites in 9-10 Open and Connor Nelson in the 11-12 Open.
Please remember that there is no racing next week at Foothills due to the National event in Pottstown PA. We will be back in action in two weeks. We hope to see you thin. So long for now.
Complete finish report