Week #2

Saturday’s inclement weather produced about 1.5 inches of rain on the facility. The questions then were would the weather break in time to get the track ready for a high-noon gate drop on Sunday or would this be the first rain out of the 2017 season. Mother Nature decided to give us a break and the rain cleared out in plenty of time for this Mother’s Day race to happen.

With only 80 riders entered this 21 moto race was small even by 2017 standards but those who came had a pretty good time, aqt least most of them did until the last points Main event of the day. More on that coming up.
There was a rider-of-the-week picked out from the results of Week #1 but in-as-much as that rider was not present today, we chose to hold the award until next time.

The first two motos were for the Balance bikers and the 4 riders were split into two groups. The first was for 3 year olds and Cheyenne (Mookie) Orlandi was on fire as she should everyone what “Mookie-Strong” was all about. Averi Wadman looked pretty darned good also as she applied some serious foot power to finish second.

In the next group it was for two year olds. This one would belong to Cole Lyman as he held off a smiling Logan Barker for the win. Logan, after two rounds of sprinting to the finish line, looked gassed and did not answer the bell for round three.

The first of the point’s races was the 4-rider gang in the 10 & Under Cruiser class. With one rider being 12 years old and our 2-time defending track champion, Marissa Lyman made it look easy as she was first to qualify and first across the stripe in the Main event. Mary Sloan was second with Riley Richardson grabbing the third spot. As is usually the case when multiple ages are combined in one class, the youngest rider, despite a great try, doesn’t make the transfer out of the motos and that was the case today for Hayley Blackburn.

The 8 year old Cruiser class was a 3-rider total point’s shootout between a 6 year old, a 7 year old and an 8 year old. 7 year old Nash Byrne, riding out of Gardner New York, aced a perfect by winning all three rounds of action. Breton Provencal was second with Ryder Richardson, from Vermont, was third.

It was another 3-rider total point’s race for the 13 year old Cruiser gtang and again, one rider was at a disadvantage at being only 10 years old. Brandon Houle was this rider and had to settle for third place. Mason Blackburn was awesome today and not only has he grown in height over the winter but his skill level has also grown. He went on to win all three rounds. Kyle Lyman was a solid second in each of the three motos.

The last Cruiser class was labeled as 26-30 but, in reality, it was 14, 15 and 35. This 3-rider total points event belonged to “Thunder-Midget” Alex Kuehn. This 15 year old was unbeatable. After trading second place finishes in the first two rounds, Jeff “Rabbit” Orlandi and JT Kelleher would go to round three to determine todays second place finisher. Even with Orlandi’s pulled groin muscle, suffered in Whip Cities Friday night action, he still was able to push on the cranks hard enough to finish in front of Kelleher and earn the second spot on the podium.

There were only two Novice motos today with the first being the 4-rider 7 year old division. Again, it would be a combination of ages as two 5 year olds were combined with two 7 year olds. Unfortunately for 5 year old Evan Wadman, he would be the one rider eliminated in the qualifying rounds. Kayla Barker (Creative Racing Products) would lead the pack to the finish line in the Main event. “Smilin” Rylan Spence was second with third going to Brody Kesl.

The 10 year old Novice gang was made up of a 8 year old, a 9 year old and a 10 year old. This total points race would go to the 10 year old, Lucas Holda with 3 moto wins in the record books. Mike Arnold finished second in the first round but fell in second round and did not start in round three forfeiting and shot at second place to Owen Russell.

Next up was the 7 year old Intermediate class made up of four riders and one of which was only 6 years old. Ryder Richardson, the 6 year old would make the transfer out of the motos as Guy Julian just didn’t have it today and had to watch the main form the side lines. Evan Sauer would make a nice pass on Sawyer Spence to capture a nice win today. Sawyer was second while third went to Ryder Richardson.

The 9 year old Intermediate class consisted of 4 riders all of the same age and proficiency. Riley Richardson, after traveling all the way from Vermont, would be the rider eliminated in the qualifying motos. After a fourth place finish last week, Cole Barker (Creative Racing Products) put it all together this week and captured an impressive win. This is Cole’s first Foothills Intermediate win in over two seasons. Second place went to Leithen McMillan while third place finisher was Wes Hamel.

The 5-rider 11 year old Intermediate group featured two 10 year olds. One of them would win this main event. “The Undertaker” Jonah Graves, used an impressive pass on the back straight, getting around Kayden Smith and then hanging on all the way to the finish line. Smith was second while Kane McMillan was third. Kevin Kelleher, despite a great effort, just missed making the main event.

The 13 year old Intermediate class was another mixed bag of ages and proficiencies with three 13-year old Intermediates, one 12 year old Intermediate and one 13 year old Novice. Predictably it was the Novice rider, Jadon Gagnon who missed the cut and had to go home with only rider points. The main event saw 12 year old Anthony Bartolo get the best of the 13 year olds with a great win. From the James Gang it was Joe James finishing second while third would go to Jake Nichols.

The biggest gtoup of the day was titled 41-45 Intermediates but its makeup was anything but that. There we Novices, Intermediates and Experts combined with ages from 15-36. “Thundermidget” showed that it really doesn’t matter this year who he races as he is always going to be in the mix of front runners. Today was just another impressive win for this 15 year old Expert who calls Trumbull his home track. 36 year old Ralph McCracken was second while 35 year old Jeff “Rabbit” Orlandi ached his way to a third place finish. It will be Expert points for Tommy Healey and Intermediate points for Novice rider Brian Wadman.

In the first of two pure Girls classes the 7 year olds would be four riders with two of them being 6 year olds. Hayley Blackburn would be the 6 year old that missed the cut but this girl is gaining some valuable experience and once she has paid her dues, will emerge as a top-notch rider against girls her own age. Kyrie Coddington-Sweet once fell into that same scenario but today, she had it going on and easily out raced the other two riders who made the main event. Elaina Byrne looked good with a solid second place finish while Natalie Kent finished third.

In the 11 year old Girls 3-rider total points race, Isabella Nelson managed a closely contested win in all three rounds. Pippa Sweet, only 9 years old held off Marissa Lyman, 2-time and reining Track Champion, for the second spot.

The 15-16 Girls class had 4 riders and only one who fell into that category. 30 plus year old Amanda Orlandi tried but missed the transfer out of the qualifying rounds. 16 year old Maya Brown, last year’s top Novice rider scored a nice victory today. 14 year old and former Track Champion Ashley Jasensky was second while finishing third was 14 year old Ashley Thacker.

In 8 year old Expert action, this total point’s race was won by a 7 year old as Nash Byrne simply put the hurt moves on the other two older riders. Breton Provencal was second just ahead of third place finisher Jayden Kent.

The 10 year old Expert class had 5 riders and two of them were 9 year olds including a Girl. Mary Sloan, 9 year old Girl was eliminated after the motos were run. Hunter McCracken, 9 year old Expert, held off 10 year old Expert Brandon Houlse for the win. While Brandon was second it was Noah Andersen passing Shawn Biello for the third spot on the podium.

The 12 year old Expert class was a 3-rider shootout between three good friends. With Trevor Cooper winning the first two rounds he was taking it easy in the final round and it took a last second pass up to the second spot to ensure his overall win for the day. Reining Track Champion Aidan Biello was second with Dylan Barker (Creative Racing Products placing third.

So all of that brings us up to the 14 year old Expert class. During the running of the motos, Connor Nelson and Kai Escobar were the first two riders qualified for the main event. JT Kelleher and Mason Blackburn also qualified from round three which eliminated 13 year old Expert Kyle Lyman. In the main, it was Connor hanging onto a slight lead coming out of turn 1. Up the second straight Kai was gaining momentum and dove to the inside as they reached turn two. The crowd was cheering widely as this was a hotly contested event. Then it was disaster. Kai and Connor made hard contact and both went down hard blocking the narrow turn two racing surface. JT Kelleher, who was definitely still in the mix and going fast, had nowhere to go. With the track blocked with carnage, JT turned slightly to the outside and got launched up and over the berm crashing through the fence and into the crowd. Mason Blackburn, who was running out of the top positions maneuvered through the turn two yard sale and would eventually be the only rider to make it to the finish line still on his mount for the win. Officially it would be Mason, JT, Connor and Kai as the order of “finish” but in reality, only JT was unhurt despite the spectacular appearance of his wreck. So after a stop at the hospital for both Kai and Connor is was reported later in the evening that Kai had suffered a broken Collar bone and a probable concussion. Connor didn’t break anything but had some nasty abrasions on his back and a very swollen elbow. Amanda Orlandi and her daughter Mookie both got hit by debris in the crowd with Amanda sustaining a bump on the head and Mookie with a cut lip and also a bump on her head. On behalf of the staff at Foothills we hope that all injuries heal quickly. This was one of the worst multi-rider crashes we have ever seen in the 22 plus seasons at Foothills. Afterwards I heard Connor blaming himself for the wreck but I personally don’t see where anyone is to blame for this accident. It was simply two expert riders going hard and they went down.


Both Kai and Connor are being attended to at the crash site

The last race of the day was the only Open class of the day and it was Trevor Cooper in the winner’s circle.

It was a tough way to see a nice day come to an end. See you next week.

Complete finish report