25 YEARS OF BMX RACING IN TORRINGTON CT.

Located at
71 Albany Turnpike
Canton, CT.


WEEK #18
SEPT 21st, 2019
Story by Rog Plaskett

 

This was a race that was a long time coming. This was the day that we celebrated our 25th anniversary of racing here at Foothills BMX. It’s mind-boggling to realize that so many years have gone by since Tom Johnson and Joe Doherty approached the Torrington City Council with the idea of bringing BMX racing to Torrington. In reality, that happened 27 years ago as it took two years to build the track. But the first race was held here on June 18th, 1995. When registration closed we enjoyed 107 riders split into 26 classes.

Today we had to catch up on a couple of Rider-Of-The-Week awards. For his efforts back on August 18th Collin Ramsey was named the recipient. He had won his very first race that day. He named his dad Art, as his favorite rider. He calls Poughkeepsie NY his home.

Next it was the August 25th recipient. We chose JD Lataille, a 6-year old Novice from Long Meadow MA. He named Cooper Jarest as his favorite rider.

Before we started racing, we presented 30 riders with the State Number Plates they had earned the week before in Bethel. Because of a computer problem, The Bethel staff could not distribute the plates. Our T.O. Jason Lyman hung out until the problem was fixed and brought several plates back here so we could present them today. The final thing we did before racing was the National Anthem with all the plate winners participating. It was a beautiful site. I used a version of the anthem by Pianist Richard Clayderman from his 1990 album “Romantic America”. It is a version that I used to use on Sunday mornings at National Events. The last time I used it was the last race every held under the sanction of the NBL. The NBL Grand Finale held in Louisville KY on Labor Day weekend in 2011. I used to call that parade lap the most colorful moment in BMX. I still feel that it is as ours was beautiful today.

BALANCE BIKES
With just two Balance bikes here today we had the pleasure of watching Ryder Champagne and Danny Demers push their way in three rounds of track pounding excitement. Why there were only two today was evident once we started racing from the starting hill. Regulars Bennett Pieterse and Skylar Hardgrove had moved up to pedal bikes joining Logan Barker and Cole Lyman who moved up earlier in the year.

13 Year Olds
The first Cruiser race was titled 13 cruiser, but it was actually a 4-rider class ranging in age from 12-13. So one would be eliminated in the qualifiers and, unfortunately, it was Chris “Sparky” Pedersen. Chis was our cruiser points leader going into today but that was about to change and it the lead would change twice within the next 3 classes. In this one it was a Jonah “The Undertaker” Graves qualifying first and later first across the stripe in the main event. Marissa Lyman, the female cruiser points champion was second with teammate “Dave Farm-Boy” LaBarge finishing third making the podium a clean-sweep for the team from Full Circle Bike Shop. Labarge, with his third-place finish adds 64 points to his season total. With Sparky earning just 4 points, LaBarge takes over the points lead going into the final week with a 46-point lead over Pedersen. But, would his 1050-point total be good enough to keep him in the lead as there are two more cruiser-class races to run today?

21-25 Year Old’s
This was also a four-rider shootout and it would feature the return of Cliff Benoit, whom we haven’t seen here since early July. Cliff showed some Foothills rust as he was obviously unfamiliar with the track and he would miss the cut. The three-rider main event was a good one with Logan Demerski, the rider formally known as “Flash”, won for the 4th time here this year in as many attempts. This was Logans first cruiser win here wearing he Full Circle Bike Shop Colors. Wes Reel was second while the third spot went to Evan Kryger.

46-50 year old’s
This would be a Total Points showdown between the rider sitting third in the cruiser points chase Mike Savage, “Barefoot” Stu McCready and Victor “Big-Sexy” Rodriquez. Mike would dominate and not only win but do it with a sweep. Rodriquez was second while McCready was third. So Savage adds 103 points to his total and it gives him a 13 point lead over Dave LaBarge for the cruiser points lead with just one race left. All point totals will be verified with USABMX and these should be considered “preliminary”.

NOVICES
5 & Under
5-riders were in this one and, after some crazy qualifying rounds including that second round where all four riders would fall in three separate wrecks. Jack Wendt was one of them and that must have shattered his confidence and he did not qualify. In the main event Logan Barker starting in the middle of the starting grid and took the lead for good in turn one. He held off a hard-charging Cole Lyman for the win. Cole was second while the third spot went to Bennett Pieterse in his first race ever on a pedal bike. Impressive indeed.

6 year old’s
This was a total-points race and Kristopher DeVaux would win his 7th race in 9 attempts here. He would do it by scoring a three round “Hat-Trick”. The second spot went to Cooper Jarest while Joe “JD” Lataille would finish in the third spot, right behind the rider he called his favorite earlier in the day.

9 year old’s
In the 9-year old class there were 5 riders but two of them were just 8-years old. It would be 8-year old Hunter Darmofalski (Scylent Rage Racing) who would miss the cut. Zuleika Bruno won for the fourth consecutive week with a smooth rider to the stripe. Hunter Woof, coming off an injury, was second while rounding out the podium was Olivia Kaleta.

11 year old’s
This class had four riders but only three actually racing. Aryana “Slayer” LaBarge was just touching the gate for rider points as she had broken her arm roller skating. That gave a free pass to the main event to the other three. Kenan Borelli won the main for his third win in 16 tries here this year. This win would propel Kenan to the top of the Leaderboard in the points chase for the top Novice at Foothills, at least for the moment. The second spot went to Hunter Phoenix while third belonged to “The Warrior” Collin Ramsey (Scylent Rage Racing).

12 year old’s
this was a three-rider total-pints race and it was a good one. Liam MacNeil went into this week with a slim 6-point lead for the Novice championship over Kenan Borelli who had just one his main in the previous race. The pressure was on Liam as I’m sure he saw what Kenan did. Liam had little problem with this one and won for the 7th time here this year and 9th overall as a Novice. He will have a shot at the title here provided he doesn’t move up during the week. Liam moves to the top with a 14 point lead over Kenan. Second total went to Full Circle Bike Shops Henry Morini in just his third race here. Third went to “Earthquake” Blake Carbone. Blake had a real tough day after falling in practice, crashing during a qualifying round and a bad crash on the first straight just riding the track after the races were over. His mom decided to go to the ER to get him checked out and he was found to have a concussion and some pulled muscles. I’ve heard that he is done for the year. We all hope he recovers quickly and comes back next year to try it again at the track where his mom was out female track champion 20 years earlier.

36-40 year old’s
this was four-riders vying for three positions in todays main event. The first qualifying round kind of set the stage for the main event. As the three riders raced around the circuit and entered turn 4, Ryan Jarest, father of Cooper and making his Foothills debut today, pulled off a great pass in turn 4 to grab the lead away from Shawn Kennedy. Kennedy pulled off the same thing in turn five and was first to qualify. Jarest made it in in the second round while Brandon LeBlanc joined this from round three. James Kaleta was the hard luck guy missing the main. Ryan Jarest would start the main from gate one and it sure worked for him as he held off Kennedy for his first Foothills win. Shawn held on to second with Brandon third.


Ryan Jarest pulls off a sweet pass in turn 4. Kennedy would do the same in turn 5.

41-45 year old’s
The Legion Of Doom is what I used to call this grouping years ago when Novice riders this old, would crash themselves out all over the track. While that’s not happening these days but hey, it’s our 25th anniversary. Dave “Chip” Austin, from Dover New York came here for the first time today and raced well but would just miss the main event when he could not get himself into a qualifying position in the “Last-Chance” Qualifier. The main event lineup featured 4-riders from Scylent Rage Racing. The team manager is Art Ramsey and he jumped out to an early lead and completed the “Full Pull” all the way to the finish line for his 9th Novice win. Teammate Brian Kesl was a solid second while third went to Scott Gonyer, rider for Overhaul Racing.

INTERMEDIATES
6 year olds
This time of the year some of the Intermediate classes can be large and that was certainly the case today as many Novices have moved up. There were 5 in this group and it would be a tough one to swallow for Will Adams after watching his dad finish 4th in the previous main event. Will would not make the cut this day. Will is a Scylent Rage Racer so I’m sure he was feeling good by the time the day was over. Blake Gauthier won for only the second time here this year and it was a hard-fought victory. He was leading in the first qualifier when he wrecked in the rhythm section. Nate Gomes kept the heat on in the main, but it just wasn’t enough, and he finish second. Rounding out the top three was Kris Meinel.

9 year old’s
This was the biggest class of the day as we started with a full gate of 8 riders. After some intense qualifying the one rider not transferring in was Grant Borelli. The main event got ugly in calamity corner as Xander Monczka wreck in turn one right in front of Natalie Kent. Kent had nowhere to go except into the debris in turn one. She would go over the handlebars and definitely go the worst of the crash as Zander was able to get back on but Natalie would walk off the track as she had had enough. We did hear later in the day that she is fine. As the main event continued it was “The Dream Weaver”, Jeffery Weaver wearing an old school RAD shirt led the whole way around. RAD was the name of the movie that prompted the first BMX race out in California so many years ago. VERY COOL SHIRT! Jeffery has clinched the Intermediate class championship. Second went to Brody Kesl (Scylent Rage Racing). Brody has stepped up his game recently and is now a force. Third went to Blake Nivens. This was Blakes first trip here.

11 year old’s
This class had nearly a full gate with 7 riders going for the Anniversary day glory. Toby Schoonmaker has been having a tough time after moving up then injuring his hand. His hard luck continued today as he was forced to watch the main from the sidelines. Zack Rukakowski led start to finish. I really blew the call as I trusted my eyes and not the moto sheet and identified him as Colin Leblanc who finished 6th. Sorry Zach. Behind his was Kubrik Tarrant with third going to Caleb Kaleta.

13 year old’s
This was a five rider group and, it featured a Novice rider thrown in. It seems unfair but the is the rules of USABMX when there are not enough riders to make up a class of the same ages and proficiencies. The Novice rider was Naomi Bruno gave it a great try but missed transferring into the main. Nick Smith looked really strong today as did all of his teammates from the Full Circle Bike Shop. He would win the main event. Nick Tirendi also looked strong and finished second not far behind. Chris “Sparky” Pedersen (Associated Lightning Rod Company Inc.) was third.

14 year old’s
This was another total points race and another won were it would be the same finish is all three rounds. Jacob Faunce, once a regular here but only visited twice earlier this season, would pull off the “perfect” with three wins. Kodi Carlson (Yess Devo) was second while Nick Krupa finished third.

15 year old’s
In this one the hard luck racer would be a rider who hadn’t been here at all this year. Roscoe Spencer-Dubuc just couldn’t get the track in enough to make the transfer into todays main event. From Stafford Springs it was Noah Toney, crowned State champion, sent a message to the rest of the class that he is ready to defend his title. He grabbed the lead early and held on for the win. Dylan Rodriguez was a solid second for the folks from Overhaul racing. Third went to the pride of Family Pride Racing, Shamus Crane.

36-40 year old’s
This was a questionable name for this class as there were 5 riders and all were experts except one. Well, that one Intermediate did just fine as he would finish in the second spot. That was Trevor Toney. Trevor and his son Noah both received their #1 state plates today. The win went to Mike Savage and, trailing Trevor Cooper by just 20 points for the Expert class championship and, more importantly for the overall Track Championship now moves into the lead, at least temporarily until Cooper’s main event comes up in about six more mains. Third went to Andrew Catlin, from Barton New York making his first trip here. Cliff Benoit had a tough outing with missing the main event in both cruiser and 20 inch classes.

EXPERT WOMEN
17-20 year old’s
Devin Murphy, The 2019 Ronnie Caruso Memorial Award winner this year, is 22 years old was able to hold off our perennial track champion Marissa Lyman for her win. Marissa was second while Sophia Machnik was third in this total points event.

EXPERTS
7 year old’s
State Champion and Family Prides Devon Hurley showed the other two competitors why he has the skinny digit on the front of his ride for the next year as he easily got the job done. Logan Rice, who won his 6-year old Intermediate class at last week’s championship race in Bethel and it was a big one as he moves up to this Expert class, finished in the second spot. “Smylin” Rylan Spence would finish third in this total points group.

9 year old’s
Dion Hurley got the opportunity to watch his broth race to victory from the starting hill and must have figured if he can do it so can I. He put those same Family Pride colors out front and kept them there in all three rounds of total points racing. Max Meinel and Cole Charette would finish second and third.
11 year old’s
I hate four rider classes as it always seems a shame that someone has to get dropped but that what qualifying rounds are I suppose. This time it was Jayden Kent who missed the cut representing Scylent Rage Racing. James Wolf had to work to find a way around Wes Hamel but once he did he did not give it up. From the Wolf-Pack, James wolf was the “Leader of the Pack” the rest of the way to the stripe. “The Hammer” Wes Hamel, put the Family Pride Colors into the second spot while third would be Ben Machnik.

12 year old’s
this was total points race but unlike the other this one featured a third round tie-breaker. Josue Bruno, Family Pride, won round one with Noah Andersen (Ramp Farm Racing) winning round two. In both of those Dave “Farmboy” was third. In the final round Bruno was on the inside at the gate and he got a great snap to jump to an early lead. Andersen was stuck on him like a wet tee-shirt but could not seal the deal. He would settle for the second spot. Third was LaBarge.

13 year old’s
This class featured our current points leader going into today, Trevor “Superfly” Cooper. Earlier Mike Savage, after winning his call, moved into the lead. Cooper needs second to tie him or a 1st would allow him to maintain his 20 point lead. Oh No, looking at the moto sheets it’s a five-rider all expert class but there were just two 13 year olds. Everyone else were either 14 or 15 years old. Of all times for this to happen. Trevor did transfer out, but it took him 3 rounds to do so and he had to beat the only other 13 year old, Jonah “The Undertaker” Graves for that last spot. In the main it was all 14 year old Dylan barker (Ramp Farm) who got the win. Second went to Aidan Biello while third went to “The Bulldozer” Chris Gonyer. Trevor loses a ton of points now trails Mike Savage by 30 points with just one week to go.

15 year old’s
The last two races were total points with only three riders in each. Logan Demerski would earn a “Double” today after winning his cruiser class and now this one. Kyle Lyman, State #4, was second while the third position belonged to Tyler Farwell, who was just touching the gate as he recuperates from two crashes last week in Bethel.

21-25 year old’s
Race #26 contained just one expert with the other two being Intermediates. Wes Reel, the Expert, was first in two of the three rounds for the overall win, his 13th here in 14 chances. He had a great day as he also won the $100 rider raffle. Colin Morini, Full Circle Bike Shop, was second while Evan Kryger was third.

 

This plaque was presented to me During intermission. Much appreciated.
 
The party after the races was epic with nearly 200 people enjoying some great stories and making new friends.
 
For Complete Finish Report