WEEK #13
JULY 29th, 2018

So here we are entering the dog-Days-Of-Summer. This weekend there is a National in Canada, a Gold Cup Race in Virginia and a SQR in Massachusetts. Match those up with the fact that Foothills popularity is now at an all-time low, and results are that we end up with 48 riders in 12 motos not counting the two Opens.
Having been with Foothills in some capacity since two years before its first race 24 years ago and having been a part of its “Glory Days” this is especially sad and troubling to me. We have dropped from a high of 206 riders’ average per race day in 2002, to a 70 rider average in 2018. We have dropped 30 racers per race just since last season. In my “BMX Career” I have seen tracks close in Wilton, Farmington, Winsted, Bristol and South Windsor. That’s just the tracks that were in Connecticut. We are the newest track in the state yet we are still 24 years old. It’s hard to imagine any new track starting up in the Nutmeg state going forward. What you see is what you get in all likelihood. Because the state championship race goes to the #1 track in the state and rider counts plays a big part in the criteria to determine the #1 track, the weekend tracks have little chance of enjoying a steady, well attended schedule without conflicting SQR’s, Gold Cups, RFL's, Warnicke's etc., all of which affect rider counts. I fear what the BMX climate around here might be like within the next 5 years. I sure hope there are still four tracks to enjoy. Foothill’s rider count is on a downward trend and one wonders where the bottom really is? Maybe today is it? A solid financial situation is one thing that every track needs to survive. I feel that without a floating State Championship race between all tracks, there are only two of our four tracks that have even a remote chance of hosting the biggest revenue-generating race in the schedule. Its almost a only the strong survive situation. There are many things that can be done to fix some of the Foothills only issues and some have already begun with good results. The issue now is getting the word out. Once a track gets a reputation that it is too dangerous or for any other reason, it can take a long time to overcome that. I’ve been there and I’ve experienced that. There are other issues that are out of the control of anyone at Foothills. Those are the issues that scare me the most. I’ve always felt that this sport is built from the bottom up. It’s grass roots are our local tracks. In the long run there will be no national or gold cup programs if the local tracks cannot survive. I’ve also learned to believe that we are all either part of the problem or part of the solution by our actions. Myself, I’d much rather be part of the solution. I wish more people would feel the same. Supporting the local tracks is the best way to insure that BMX stays strong. I realize that none of this is pertinent to yesterday’s race report but it’s just something that I needed to say. It’s solely my opinion and not necessarily the opinions of any staff member at Foothills. I apologize for using this media as the means to say it if it offended anyone or any organization.


So yesterday we finally got to see Noah Toney, who was named Rider-Of-The-Week back on July 1st. This 13 year old Intermediate from Stafford Springs was a Novice until recently. He said that Connor Fields, the reigning Olympic Gold Medalist was his favorite rider.

For his efforts last week, 13-year old Novice Kodie Carlson was Rider-Of-The-Week. He claimed his dad, an ex BMX racer, was his favorite riders.

With our three regular Push Bike racers all moving up recently to the 5 & Under class, we had only one here yesterday. Calvin Cummings gave it a shot in his first race ever. Big Thanks goes out to Logan Barker who jumped on a Push bike so that Cal could have someone to race with. Cal looked great in his Shark Helmet. We called him "The Maneater".

The first and only Cruiser class was the 12 year old group but, in reality, it was made up of one 15 year old, one 12 year old and two riders 10 and under. JT Kelleher, the 15 year old had it all his way as he was focused on the win and easily won the main event. 8-year old Evan “Lemon-Drop” Sauer really put in a great effort and finished second. Marissa Lyman was third and Mary Sloan was the rider not making the main event.

The 5 & Under class one of those classes where you either want to just hide your eyes and hope it gets over soon or smile and cheers them all the way around. Yesterday, with 6-riders going for it, it was a mix of both emotions. A new rider who took out a one-day membership, failed to show in any of the qualifying rounds assuring that the other five would all make the main, provided they survived that long. In the first round Cole Lyman, Malachi Goggins and Logan Barker (Creative Racing Products) tangled up and wrecked. William Adams, in the right place at the right time, easily won the transfer spot. The next two rounds went ok ao all 5 entered the main event. Maybe Malachi and Cole enjoyed that first round crash so much they decided to meet on the dirt again in the main event as they again wrecked. 5-year old Cooper Jarest earned the victory. William Davis, the only other 5-year old was second while 3-year old Logan Barker was third. 3-year old Cole Lyman was able to finish out the main while 4-year old Malachi chose to be carried off. Malachi is fine and probably already looking forward to next week.

The 8-year old class was a decent size as well with five riders vying for 4 starting positions in the main event. After the qualifying rounds, the hard luck racer missing the cut was Grant Borelli. Grant had just started with a one-day membership and we hope he didn’t get too discouraged and comes back again. The main event saw Dion Hurley, who was sitting on 9 Novice wins, work his way through the turn one traffic jam and power his way right into the Intermediate ranks. Mikel Aubry was a solid second while the third spot went to “The Dream Weaver” Jeff Weaver. Dion was presented with a Foothills BMX racing shirt that his mom had purchased earlier in the day without his knowledge.

The 11-year old class was a three rider total points event and it was the same order of finish in every round with 11 year old Chris Pedersen adding his fourth 2018 Foothills win to his total. 10 year old Toby Schoonmaker, who informed me after 13 weeks that I’ve been mispronouncing his name, was second and 10 year old Kenan Borelli was third.

The 6 year old group was yet another of the many total points races yesterday and it was another Hurley in the winner’s circle after winning all three rounds. This time it was Devon turning the deed. It was an impressive effort for 5 year old Joey Dietz as he finished second. “Smilin Rylan” Spence was third.

There were 6 riders registered in the 9 year old group with two of them being 8-year old Experts. In the qualifying rounds Landon Hansen and Brody Kesl wrecked pretty hard. The crash would cause Landon any shot at transferring out while Brody, who did transfer, did not look himself after that. In the main it was Trumbull’s Evan Sauer capturing the big win as he stayed in front of his fellow Expert racer Sawyer Spence. The third spot went to Pete Szneda. The five riders who made the main earn Expert points for their efforts.

The 11 year old 5-rider group saw Kevin Kelleher, despite a great try, fail to transfer out of the qualifying rounds. “The Hammer”, Wes Hammel was the only Expert in the mix and he certainly showed off the difference in proficiency. He easily led the charge to the finish line as the only Family Pride racer in the house. Cole Barker (Creative Racing Products) earned a really good second while third went to Nick Tirendi. Expert points earned by all.

The 13 year old class had to eliminate one rider before the three rider main event and this time it was Kodie Carlson. Kodie drew tough duty as he was the only Novice rider in this mix that included a former Foothills Track Champion who would be today’s winner. Marissa Lyman, 2015 and 2016 track champion showed the boys how it’s done with a huge smile on her face as she crossed the stripe. Noah Toney was second with Lucas Holda finishing third.

The 16 year old gang was a total points three rider shootout. Just like the total point races before it, the order of finish was the same in all three rounds. JT Kellher, after winning his cruiser class, did the same in this 20 inch class. Gianna Dietz however, did not make it easy for him as she kept the pressure on all the way around in every lap and finished second. Third went to Sam Taylor as do “Intermediate points” for the efforts of this Novice rider.

The last Intermediate class was the 41-45 gang and it was 4-riders strong and a mix of riders from Novice to Expert. In the first round Trevor Toney, an Intermediate, wrecked very hard on the second straight. He would not return for the next to qualifying rounds assuring a free pass into the main for the remaining three riders. Craig Dietz, the only Expert would make it look easy as he grabbed the win. Art Ramsey (Scylent Rage Racing) earned the second spot when Tim Brown (Team K-Mart Flannel Wear) backed off and finished third.

Only two groups of Experts with the first being the 12 year old gang. This three rider total point’s race. Trevor Cooper (Superfly) was the star of this one as he took no prisoners and swept all three rounds. Noah Andersen managed to hold off the hard charging Kayden Smith in two of the three rounds for second overall.

The last points class of the day was the 14 year old gang. Emily Aldo, a 14 year old Intermediate, was put into the class due to the small crowd and she would try her hardest but not make the main after racing these Experts. Kyle Lyman (Overhaul) was today’s winner after he held off a determined Aidan Biello. Dylan Barker (Creative Racing Products) was third.

Sawyer Spence won the 7-8 Open class while Pete Szenda won the 13-14 group.

Lastly an organization call PITFUND was here yesterday to promote the opportunities they can provide to riders of all ages. PITFUND is a free signup that provides a website where riders can promote themselves to raise money for a wide range of things from funding for a trip to the Grands, a new bike, equipment or anything else you can think of. Check them out at www.pitfund.com

Hopefully we see most of you back again next week.

Complete finish report