Week # 5 was run under cloudy skies and warm temperatures with a crowd that was certainly decent by 2017 standards. With riders from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and Vermont joining the Connecticut contingent, the entry count was 110 in 30 motos with another 7 entering the two Open classes for a total of 32 motos and 117 entries.
With the choice for Rider-Of-The-Week not in the house today, it was decided to hold the name until the next time the rider is present.
There were 6 Balance Bike motos and the first group featured two 4 year olds. Rigdzin and Hailey “Hot-Rod” Clough went at it with Rigzdin out running Hailey.
The next group was the two 3-year olds. Kristopher Meinel and “Burrito” Ryder Champagne raced around the short circuit with Meinel winning that one.
The last group was a 3-riders shootout between three 2-year olds. Logan Barker put one round in the win column with a big smile but he had the BMX siren blasting in round two and simply had enough. Braxton Murphy went on to the win with Cole Lyman hanging tough for third.
As we moved into the point classes the first was a 4-rider group called “11-12 Girls Cruiser”. In reality the make-up ranged from age 6 to 16. 6 year old Hayley Blackburn was the rider missing the cut. 16 year old Maya Brown had it all her way as she cruised to a victory. Second place would go to 11 year old Marissa Lyman while 9 year old Mary Sloan would finish third.
The 13 year old cruiser class was a 3-rider total point’s event and was made up of two 13-years olds and one 6-year old. It looked like the generosity of the 13-year olds would benefit 6-year old Ryder Richardson as he won the class overall for the day. Mason Blackburn and Kyle Lyman finished second and third.
The 14-year old Cruiser division was also a Total Points shootout and this time it was made up of three riders all the same age. “The Natural” Baley Levine aced the perfect with three moto wins. JT Kelleher made him work for it and finished second with third going to New York’s Owen Downey.
The 21-25 Cruiser class was another mixed bag of ages and ranged from 15 years old to 40 years old. 33-year old Eric Linsley was the rider eliminated after the qualifying rounds. In the 4-rider Main event, 19-year old Chris Therriault would need all of his skills to win it as “Thundermidget” Alex Kuehn sure made him work for the 105 points for first place. Alex was second with “Tail-Bone” Tim Brown third.
The last cruiser class was 46-50 but there was a nice surprise in it as 58 year old Butch Feitel was back for the first time since August of 2015. Butch was once a regular here and around the state but, after being picked up by “Stylin Racing” last year ended up with a serious groin injury requiring surgery. It was great to see him back here. He enjoyed it and finished the day with a solid second place finish in this three rider Total Points race. The winner was “The Governor” Pat McDonnell earning his first Foothills win for the season. Gina Layman, who rarely has women to race in her cruiser classes, would finish third.
The Novice classes began with a three rider Total Points race for the 5 & under gang. Whip City’s Hunter Heath won all three rounds for the overall title in his first trip ever to Foothills. Elijah Pagan, son of “Flash” Felix Pagan, nailed down a solid second while Mason Murphy traded in his Strider bike for a 20” and finished third in his first race ever on a bike with pedals.
The 6-year old class was supposed to be a 3-rider race but Kunsang Hurtado never made it to the gate leaving just to competitors to fight it out. Evan Wadman got it done with three moto wins while Brayden Thibodeau struggled. The first crash of the day belonged to Brayden when he fell pretty hard on the second straight in the third round. Showing some resilience he got up and remounted his bike only to wreck again on the back straight. This was Brayden’s first tip here and we hope this Pittsfield Massachusetts rider can get over this disappointment and come back again soon.
The 4-rider 8 year old Novice class was made up of two 7-year olds and two 8-year olds. One of the 7-year olds was Brody Kesl and, after making his Main the first four weeks of the season would experience the agony of missing the cut today despite a great effort. Silas Hurtado, former Rider-Of-The-Week, nailed down the win with a great effort for his third Foothills win of the season. Owen Russell would finish second as the two 8-year olds grabbed the top two spots. Third went to Kayla Barker (Creative Racing Products).
Total Points racing was in store for the 10 year old Novice group and it was another member of the Hurtado racing team going to winners circle. This time it was Tenzin earning the victory. Mike Arnold finished in the second spot with third place going to Zach Adams. This was Zach’s first trip here this year.
Five riders were going for some Sunday glory in the 36-40 year old Novice class. Joe Downey, from Patterson New York would miss the cut today in his first trip here for the 2017 season. The way it turned out, he was probably happy that he did. Seth Durette, a local Torrington rider making his BMX debut, won the main event today to start his career in style. Nate Young, another rider making his Foothills debut enjoyed a nice second place finish. But its what happened behind those guys that sent a gasp through the large crowd. Chris Champagne came out of turn three and jumped the first obstacle but when he landed he went down very hard. Nate Young, running right behind Chris plowed into him and then Eric Linsley, with the track resembling a yard sale, had nowhere to go but into the pile of machine and humanity sprawled on the track in front of him. Eric and Nate were able to get up but Chris would lay there for quite a few minutes. He would finally get up and jump on the bike and ride it out to the cheers of the crowd. Afterward Chris said that in the gate his bars were not quite perpendicular to the front wheel. He said he tried to pull it even but it remained off just a little. He figured that was what caused the wreck when he landed with the wheel not quite lined up properly. He thought he may have cracked a bone in his hand but vowed to be back next week even if he was in a cast. He is ONE TOUGH DUDE! Linsley salvaged third.
Chris being attended to after huge wreck. Gina Layman administering help
The biggest class of the day was the seven rider 7-year old Intermediate grouping. It was actually include one 5 year old, one 6 year old and one 6 year old Girl. Hayley Blackburn would be the unfortunate rider who was eliminated after the qualifying motos. It was an impressive win for Matt Horjatschon who topped the large field of riders. “Lemon-Drop” Evan Sauer earned a sweet second place spot while Whip City’s Cole Charette was third.
It was a Total Points sweep for Kevin Kelleher in the 10-year old Intermediate class today for his second ever intermediate win. Kubrik Tarrent was second while Cole Barker (Creative Racing Products) was third.
Custom cycles Anthony Bartolo easily won the 12 year old Intermediate Total Points class and was the only 12 year old Intermediate in this 3-rider mix. 11 year old Kayden Smith was second while 11 year old Novice rider Tyler Bouteiller was third. Tyler will earn Intermediate points for his efforts today for being mixed in a group of higher proficiency. 22 points go to Tyler.
In 13 year old Intermediate action it would be Sean Adams missing the cut in this four rider class. The main event win would go to Dylan Rodriguez as he held off two Family-Pride racers Shamus Crane and “Loose Change’ Jake Nichols.
The 15 year old Intermediate class included only one 15 year old and two 14 year olds. This Total Points race would feature a perfect three moto win for “Freight Train” Ben Babcock. Jorn Layman battled Joe James for the second spot and would prevail there.
The 17-18 year old Intermediate class had two riders in it that were 16 years old and it would be “The Dominator” Dom Rossi as odd man out after the qualifying rounds were run. That left Jake Layman, Brandon Daniels and Dan Heideger to battle for supremacy in the 3-rider main event. After Dan was first to qualify out of the motos, he was thought to be the favorite in the main especially starting in gate 3. As they flew in and out of turn 1 it was Heideger leading the pack up the second straight. As they approached turn 2 Layman dove to the inside and pulled of an incredible pass. He would never look back and as he exited turn 5 and headed to the finish line, the crowd erupted in cheers as finally, after 12 years of BMX, Jake Layman had earned his Expert ranking. The Overhaul team showered him in seltzer water as he beamed with pride of his well deserved accomplishment. Well done Jake, well done.
The 28-35 Intermediate gang of four saw Matt Giroux miss the cut despite a good try. Josh Sanford, who started racing in 2006 then, after a few years took some extended time off, won today’s Intermediate main event. Steven Healey, making his first 2017 visit to Foothills nailed down second place while third went to Tom Healey.
In the 46 & Over Intermediate class there was two Experts, Zach Gietek and Ralph McCracken in the mix. This would provide “Expert Points” to all who made the main event. Vic Rodriguez would be the Intermediate rider missing out on this opportunity as he just missed the cut. The two Experts finished 1-2 as McCracken would edge out Gietek in a good two rider breakaway. The third spot and 65 points (More than a win in a pure Intermediate) went to “Deadeye” Kevin Marchildon.
Only three riders participating in a “Girls” class and they were all 11 years old. Winning all three rounds of Total Points racing was our 2-time and reining female track champion Marissa Lyman. Isabella Nelson was second and Samantha Sperrazza was third.
There were three more females competing and they were in the “17-20” Women’s class but, in reality, Kirsten McDonnell (Yess-Dan’s Comp) was only 14 years old. The battle here was really between the two older riders, 16 year old Maya Brown (Gold Cup #1) and 18 year old Emily Fullerton (Gold Cup #3). Maya won the first round but Emily came back strong and won round two. The tie-breaking third round saw a classic battle between the two but at the stripe it was Emily earning the win. Maya was second with Kirsten third.
In 8 year old Expert action it was a three rider race with 7 year old Girl racer Kyrie Coddington-Sweet electing to race the boys today. She apparently loves being pushed as was the case today. She looked strong but the boys would prevail. Justin Donahue (Gold Cup #1) put the Standard Northeast Army colors on the top of the podium with wins in all three rounds. Jayden Kent, after making a great save when running off onto the wrong Fairway and whacking some weeds in the second round, came back strong in round three and salvaged second place.
It seemed to be the norm today as more Girls competed in the Expert classes than they did in the Girls classes. This was the case in the 3-rider 9 year old Expert class where only one pure Expert, Hunter McCracken was competing. Hunter would win all three rounds of this Total Points race with Pippa Sweet second and “The Blue Streak” Mary Sloan third.
It was more Total Points racing this time in the 10 year old class of Experts. “Nasty” Nate Giroux would make it two wins in consecutive weeks here by winning all three rounds. Shawn Biello and Noah Andersen, both putting in good efforts would finish second and third behind Nasty.
In 12 year old Expert racing action, 2-time Track Champion Trevor Cooper held off a rejuvenated Dylan Barker (Creative Racing Products) for the win. Aidan Biello, reining Track Champion could only manage a third in this highly contested, evenly matched main event. Kyle McDonnell missed qualifying.
Another large group today was the 14 year old Expert gang. Unfortunately there were two 13-year olds in the mix and it was one of them who missed the cut. Kyle Lyman, despite a valiant effort, would miss qualifying. The main event saw Hunter Zeiner lead the way. “Butter” was unbeatable today and one by a large margarine. “The Natural” Baley Levine held onto second place just in front of a much improved Mason Blackburn.
The “Mod-Squad” was up next with 4 riders vying for the three positions in the main event. Devin Carty would just miss making it in. “Thundermidget” Alex Kuehn won for the second time here this year in as many tries. “Jumpin” Jerry Taylor looked really good with a solid second place finish with Jacob Stevens also looking strong for third.
The last point’s class was for the group identified as “28-35 Expert”. 17-year old Dean Zebian would prevail here after a classic on track battle with 33 year old Felix "Flash" Pagan. 17 year old Chris Therriault was third while "Stone-Cold" Steve Scibelli rounded out the finishing order in fourth. Danielle Jolicoeur, drawing some real tough duty, missed qualifying.
The winners in the two Open classes were Justin Donahue in 7-8 Open and “Flash” Felix Pagan in 31 & over.
Good luck to everyone heading to Maryland next week but remember, “While the cats away the mice will play”. Foothills points leaders could really change. Next week is also our USABMX mandated Race-For-Life double points race. $20.00 entry fee with certificates as the award. Hopefully, we see you then. So long for now.
Complete finish report